Vehicle-related crimes are one of the main crimes that students find themselves falling victim to. Students are urged to not leave their valuables such as cell phones and laptops in their cars unattended, as this can cause robbers to break into their vehicles and have their possessions stolen. Furthermore, the Brooklyn police would like to urge them not to park their cars on the pavements around campus because this can create an easy opportunity for motor-vehicle theft. Instead, “students are advised to make use of the park and ride facility” at the L.C de Villiers sports campus to ensure the safety of their vehicles. According to Crime Stats SA, in 2017 748 thefts of motor vehicles and motorcycles were reported at the Brooklyn Precinct and 1271 thefts out of or from motor vehicles.
Accommodation scams are another of the main crimes reported at the police station. Victims of these scams usually look for private accommodation “online or through newspaper rental searches”, and pay a deposit for an accommodation place that does not exist and end up not having a place to stay. When looking for private accommodation students must use UP’s registered and officially accredited rental agents for a more trustworthy source. A list for these kinds of accommodation is available on the UP website.
Another commonly occurring crime is one that involves individuals who approach students in order to ‘pray’ for them ‘so that no harm will befall them’. These individuals, commonly known as ‘false prophets’, also ask to pray over their victims’ belongings. The ‘prophets’ may ask the students to leave their belongings with them and go and buy water for a ‘purification process’. When the students return, their possessions along with the individuals are gone. These ‘prophets’ usually lure in students by falsely informing them that their family members’ lives are in danger or they may mention something with regards to ‘ancestral spirits’. The perpetrators may also approach their targets and offer them a discount on clothes in certain clothing stores around the area and, while students are trying on clothes, the individuals disappear with their possessions.
Street robberies are part of the four main reported crimes. Criminals will approach pedestrians “walking to and from residences, campus, train stations and entertainment places”, and will use weapons such as firearms and/or knives to threaten their victims and rob them off of their possessions. These robberies can occur during the day or at night so students are asked to be vigilant at all times and move around in groups and keep their important belongings out of sight.
Illustration: Rhodeen Davies