There are currently three official student parking areas manned by security officers situated on the periphery of the Hatfield campus on Festival Street, Herold Street and Lunnon Road. However, these parking areas fill up quickly resulting in students having to park on the streets around campus.
Rowan Watson, manager of investigations at the Department of Security Services, says that due to students having to park off campus, a “reoccurring problem we are experiencing is the intimidation by certain informal car attendants toward our students in the streets surrounding the Hatfield campus.”
If you find yourself unable to park in the demarcated parking areas, another option is the “park and ride” facility from the LC de Villiers Sport campus. Students can park their vehicles from 06:45 until 18:45 on the campus and catch a bus to and from the Hatfield campus every 25 to 30 minutes.
Another option allows students to park their vehicles on the Hatfield campus after 16:30, provided that a valid student card is shown upon entry and that students do not park in disabled or undercover parking bays. The final option is the Engineering 3 parking structure. Students can park in the facility at a fee and the parkade accommodates approximately 600 vehicles.
A number of scams have also been reported around the Hatfield in recent years, and new students should be aware of these.
False prophet scam
This involves a target who is approached by individuals who claim to have been given “divine instruction” to pray for them. The scammer then requests that the victim leave their property with them and is instructed to buy water for the “purification process”. Upon the victim’s return, the so-called prophets have disappeared, along with the victim’s belongings. According to security services, women are most likely to be targeted by these scams.
A scammer approaches their target on the street and informs them that they work for a company called “Avon”. The individual then explains to the intended victim that they can earn some money by assisting with a stock take of goods. A second individual, a “passer-by”, is then also pulled aside and briefed on the story and agrees to it. The victim and “passer-by” are then requested to hand over all electronic devices such as tablets, cell phones and laptops for “verification purposes” while they are working with the “Avon” products. The items are then taken to be “marked” and subsequently never returned. The victim and “passer-by” then split up with only the victim reporting the theft, indicating that the “passer-by” is also part of the scam in order to gain the victim’s trust.
The “drug dealer” scam
An individual approaches a potential target and begins a light conversation with them. The scammer then requests the victim’s phone in order to send a “please call me”. The swindler then produces a bag of white powder that he alleges to be cocaine. After instructing the victim to look after the “cocaine”, the swindler usually walks away with the victim’s phone, never to be seen again. The “cocaine” turns out to be baking powder or flour.
The “police” scam
The intended victim is approached by individuals in a vehicle. The occupants of the vehicle identify themselves as SAPS officers.
The occupants tell a story of a robbery, and the victim is urged to enter the vehicle. Upon entering, they are asked a series of questions regarding their banking details that they have to write on a piece of paper, and they are then instructed to hand over their bank card. One of the occupants of the vehicle then takes the piece of paper and bank card and places it in an envelope that is then sealed. The victim is given the envelope, and upon exiting the car, the vehicle drives off. When the victim opens the envelope, they find a blank loyalty card (such as clothing store gift cards) which was switched in place of their bank card.
Furthermore, director of the Department of Security Services Colin Fouché urges students not swipe in other people onto campus as this is how people gain unauthorised access.
Students can rest assured that they will be in good hands during their time at UP. Students are urged to report any incidents to the 24-hour Campus Security phone line at 012 420 2310, or 24-hour Operational Management at 083 654 0476. Contact details for the Department of Security Services are also available on the reverse side of all student cards. The department also maintains UP’s toll-free crisis line. All communication is treated confidentially and there are a large number of professional practitioners and support personal who are available to assist students. The toll-free crisis line can be reached at 0800 060 428.
Photo: Hendro van der Merwe