WORD ON THE STREET: How safe are UJ campuses?

UJ has taken additional security measures with protection services patrolling all four campuses 24 hours a day. The university has also collaborated with JMPD, SAPS, and the City of Johannesburg to install smart cameras on various routes in an attempt to ensure student safety.

The Open Journal asked UJ students studying at the university’s APK and DFC campuses how they felt about these new security measures.

Thandeka Nkabinde, 19, First-year, Human Resource student, APK.

“I feel criminals will be afraid as more protection will be allocated to campus, and students who study at night will feel safer as there will be someone trustworthy to walk with them, I will feel more at ease with having protection around me.”

Mduduzi Mphafudi, 21, Third-year, Bcom Accounting student, APK.

“At the moment students, safety is questionable since there’s an increase in robbery within the campus, with that being said campus cameras must be allocated to every side of the campus and they must be switched on at all times.

However, collaborating with SAPS and JMPD will ensure student safety within and outside campus, it will make travelling for students easier, especially students who travel to off-campus accommodation.”

While some students welcomed the new security measures others felt that more needed to be done to protect students.

Shereen Nkosi, 22, First-year, Biomedicine student, DFC.

“I find it as a good act but they shouldn’t make it too extreme, officers should be there but not at every corner. They should focus on training the security guards that we have instead of putting in more people.

I carry a knife as I live in town, I carry it with me not because I want to harm students but to protect myself so a place where we can put our weapons when we arrive on campus will be efficient as not every person with a weapon is a criminal.”

Mthokozisi Mathebula, 20, First-year student, DFC.

“We only want SAPS and JMPD to only patrol outside DFC campus as that is where crime takes place, we are safe [on] campus, as students [we are] our own security if there’s a crime [taking] place we will rise up to stop the perpetrator, we are a small campus and we know each other.

They need to train and give weapons to the 24-hour patrollers as I can mug one of them, [on] campus I feel there’s a need for panic buttons at designated areas that will automatically shut down all entrance points in case a crime takes place.”

Mulaudzi Tsireledzo, 18, First-year, Human Resource student, APK.

“It ensures our safety as we have more protection compared to the past, they should also allocate securities in the labs but I like the fact that we will feel safer as SAPS and JMPD officials are around and they have been trained, having them on guard at campuses on its own makes me feel safe around campus.”

Khensani Kubayi, 19, First-year, Public Management and Governance student, APK.

“I think it’s a good thing that new smart cameras will be installed as crime on campus takes place often, having new working cameras will make students and securities job easier and it’s an effective way to catch criminals.”

Some students were not very happy about the situation.

MK Nkosi, 19, First-year, Biomedicine student, DFC

“I feel as if it’s going to be effective only for a few weeks and that police will  get tired of patrolling and will, therefore, accept bribes as we all love money after all.”

Ntandoyakhe Moyo, 21, Second-year, Bcom Finance student, APK.

“Having police around will make me uncomfortable but I do understand the reason why UJ is collaborating with these forces it’s to improve our security and ensure that we are safe at all times.”

Mpho Kgarodi, 20, First-year, Biomedicine student, DFC

“It’s not good because I feel as if I’m going to be under surveillance so I won’t be free and comfortable with police officers patrolling inside campus, I feel that it is a trap and that officers will end up taking into account what we are doing instead of basing it on our safety.”

Since the beginning of last year,  as part of the institution’s new safety measures people’s cars are searched at the gates and students’ bags are searched at the library entrance. It is not yet clear whether the university will be making any new improvements to their security, similar to those suggested by students that we interviewed.

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