Brooklyn police have urged students to remain extra vigilant for the remainder of the year.
Police spokesperson Captain Colette Weilbach said as the year draws to an end and the exams commence, students often fall victim to numerous crimes because they let their guard down, she told Pretoria East Rekord.
She said cases of theft out of motor vehicles were high during this time of year.
“This is due to the fact that students are leaving their laptops behind in vehicles before entering the examination rooms and opportunities are created for criminals to break into vehicles.
“It is advisable to rather leave laptops locked-up at home or to take it along inside the examination room.
“Laptops and other items must be put inside the boot before leaving for a destination. Criminals observe parking areas and they see when motorists are putting items away in the boot after parking.
“Students must try to park on campus where possible to prevent vehicle theft. Park and ride options are also a safer alternative. Try to park in well-lit areas with reliable security.”
She also warned about so-called “false prophets”, as previously reported in the Pretoria East Rekord, were active in Hatfield swindling many students during exam times.
The “prophet” would offer to pray for the student and to bless his/her laptop. The student would then be instructed to put his/her belongings down on the ground, to close the eyes and to lift the arms in prayer.
At that moment, the so-called “prophet” would disappear with the student’s belongings.
Weilbach said robbers also targeted pedestrians who were often students walking to and from residences, campus, train stations, and entertainment places.
“Nearly all students these days are walking with a cell phone in their hands.
“It takes a few seconds for criminals to bump into a cellphone user and to grab the cellphone. Sometimes they will threaten their victims with knives or firearms.”
She said there have been numerous cases where robbers targeted cell phone users at fast food outlets.
This is due to nearly every customer using their cell phones while they are waiting for their food order, which makes them easy targets.
Students studying in libraries or study centres were also cautioned to take care not to leave their valuables like laptops and cellphones unattended on their desks when taking a break.
Weilbach said another issue during the warmer time of the year was that residents tended to sleep with open windows making it easier for burglars or house robbers to gain entry.
“A closed window is a deterrent for criminals because of the noise that it makes when it is broken and study desks must not be placed in front of windows where it will be easy for criminals to steal laptops or cellphones from the desk through an open window,” said Weilbach.