Safety is an issue that concerns us all. Crime after all happens everywhere, also on university campuses. Take the rape of a University of Stellenbosch student recently. While some things are beyond your control, there are ways to keep yourself and others safe.
1. Report suspicious activity
Are you seeing something suspicious? Are you seeing people who are hanging around for no apparent reason? Don't walk by and pretend it didn't happen. Report it to campus security and ask them to take action. That is what they are there for.
2. Report a crime
Have you been victim of a crime, or have you witnessed a crime? Then you should report it. No report means that the perpetrator has right of way to do it again. And again. And again.
3. Know your numbers
Keep phone numbers of the police, emergency services and/or campus security in your phone, preferably on speed dial. Ensure your phone has credit and is charged, or keep an emergency airtime voucher in your purse. Use those numbers in case you are (or someone else is) in danger.
4. Be aware
Be aware of your surroundings, particularly if you are somewhere you have never been before. Keep an eye on your belongings and people around you. Criminals rely on people being indifferent to their surroundings and not paying attention.
5. Protect your stuff
Don't carry your expensive laptop and camera in a fancy branded bag. Rather carry them in an understated backpack and invest in a security cable with, which you can use to connect laptop to your desk. Always lock your room when you leave, report broken locks or windows immediately. Invest in a safe.
6. Don't resist
In case of a mugging, remember that your stuff can be replaced – as opposed to you. Let the perpetrator have your stuff instead of resisting him/her. Resistance often ends in injuries, or worse. Insuring your gear and backing up frequently is a must.