19 March 2021 | Story Cobus van Jaarsveld

As students are returning to campus, Cobus van Jaarsveld, Assistant Director: Threat Detection, Investigations and Liaison at Protection Services, believes it is important that they ‘know’ and practise safety at the UFS:

1) Know the number of your Department of Protection Services:

• Bloemfontein Campus: +27 51 401 2911(also in cases of GBV)
• Qwaqwa Campus: +27 58 718 5032 / 5029 / 5033
• South Campus: +27 51 505 1298

Protection Services staff are the experts on campus safety, and they are able to point out the safest routes on and around campus, especially after dark. They can also assist with any safety concerns you may have.

As a student, you are smart; use your senses:
o Never let a stranger in your room or apartment
o Never walk alone after dark.

2) Know how to use alcohol

Although drinking and driving is a big NO, there are some other cardinal facts about drinking that you need to take note of:

• Never consume a drink provided by a stranger
• Never leave a drink unattended
• Never drink too much too quickly
• Always leave a party with a buddy

3) Know the basics of personal finance

You will be bombarded with offers from credit card companies, clothing stores, etc. Know how to budget. If you do not know how to budget, please contact the Student Counselling and Development office to assist you. This skill will not only make your life easier at varsity, but also once you start earning an income.

Be aware of fraud. If something looks too good to be true, it often is.

Watch your wallet. Theft or robbery is a possibility.

4) Know how to be safe on the internet

You are spending a lot of time on the internet. Unfortunately, criminals are also spending time in cyberspace with the aim of taking advantage of unsuspecting people like you. This may include cyberstalking, which may lead to emotional or physical harm, or it may result in them taking your information or money through phishing scams. Do not become a victim and ensure that you
- never use the same password twice;
- never use unsecured Wi-Fi to access private accounts;
- always use passwords that are difficult to guess;
- never reveal important information such as your banking login details to strangers calling on the phone; and
- never mention your location online.

5) Know basic self-defence

Avoid being the victim of any form of harassment or assault. Learning basic self-defence techniques will help you to protect yourself from physical attacks.

Protection Services offer self-defence classes from time to time. Make use of the opportunity and equip yourself with these self-defence techniques. Also buy yourself pepper spray, which can give you time to escape.

“Lastly, be aware of your surroundings. Walk with a purpose, without headphones, and always pay attention,” says Van Jaarsveld.

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