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South African Campuses Struggle With Rampant Crime


Institutions of higher learning are facing the same rampant crime that is synonymous with the rest of the country.

This is according to Mandisa Makhaye, a lecturer at the University of Zululand in the faculty of criminal justice.

She said this issue is one that needs serious attention.

“Many would perceive universities as safe environments where education is the common language. However, students often become victims of crime within the campus and even their own residences,” Makhaye wrote in an article.

She said there are variables to be observed when studying the phenomenon of crime on campus, including home environment, negative peer influence, inadequate parenting style, poor coping skills, low self-esteem, and drug and alcohol abuse.

“Many students enter university with negative family, social and economic experiences in their backgrounds as a result of a shaky high school life that left the student traumatized or even motivated to engage in criminal activity — factors which act as a catalyst in the crime that occurs on campus,” Makhaye said.

The most common crime is theft, she said, because students have valuable goods such as laptops, cellphones and the latest gadgets — which she calls predisposing factors as to why crime takes place.

“Among theft and robbery, there is assault as well. Students have a night-time lifestyle where there is alcohol and substance abuse, which leans on the type of assault that happens (under the influence)” she said.

“Sexual violence is also on the rise on campuses.”

Makhaye said statistics are outdated because of under-reporting. She concluded that the sector needs laws that bind institutions of higher learning to not only report criminal activity, but to also have policies in place that monitor crime.

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