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16 July 2020 | Story Valentino Ndaba
Add these emergency safety contacts to your speed dial.

Staying safe during the coronavirus pandemic extends to ensuring that students at the University of the Free State (UFS) are safe from crime. Crime in South Africa remains an unfortunate reality which continues to affect students, staff and the institution in general. 

“Crime requires constant vigilance from the community and this can only be achieved through initiatives that are aimed at informing the community on what to do and what not to do. To this end the BSafe Safety First flyer is geared at informing specifically the student community on safety measures that must be taken,” said Cobus van Jaarsveld, Assistant Director: Threat Detection, Investigations and Liaison at Protection Services.

The Safety First flyer is a guide for students to be crime-conscious whether at their accommodation, on the street, or in their vehicles. It also offers tips on how to act responsibly as far as alcohol and drugs are concerned.

Engaging students on their safety 

UFS Protection Services recently engaged with off-campus residence students in Bloemfontein in order to provide tips on how to stay safe in their neighbourhoods. During the engagement, the new Safety First pamphlets were distributed, and students were encouraged to join the Student Crime-Stop Brandwag WhatsApp group.

As from 15 June 2020, Nissi Armed Response was deployed from 18:00 to 06:00. This initiative has already led to them responding to several suspicious persons and vehicles, as well as some minor incidents and disturbances. Two arrests were made on different occasions as a result of the deployment. In the first incident, a suspect was arrested on 27 June 2020 after a burglary in Brandwag, and the second relates to a suspect who was arrested on 10 July 2020 after threatening students at Universitas.

These successes were the result of student and community participation in providing information, coupled with excellent response from private security companies, including Nissi Armed Response, VR Security, and BloemSec.

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