CRIME AFFECTING STUDENTS AT NMMU
FOCUS GROUP INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT.
Interviewer (Pfano Bulasigobo): Good morning everyone. We are conducting a focus group interview and our issue is crime among students. We’re trying to find out how students have been affected by crime in and around campus. And now our first respondent is Palesa. : Hi Palesa, how are you? Palesa : I’m fine. Pfano : I’m also fine thank you. Uhhm, how have you been affected by crime? Palesa : I have been once affected. I was just walking from school and going home. And while I was walking home, I was just concentrating on what I’m gonna do at home not looking back to see who’s following me or who’s coming from the front. I was just concentrating on my own thoughts. And while I was walking, I just hear someone grabbing my shoulders, I was like taken aback then I looked behind me and there was a guy. I didn’t know him so I was like: what?, and then the guy said: Bring, bring your phone. I said what?! No! And then while I was still confused and wondering what the next step is I just took my phone and threw it away…And then I….I was just afraid and shaking. I didn’t know what to do. I was just there, looking at this guy- terrified… Pfano : How did you feel after the incident though, did you feel safe walking from school? Palesa : No, not at all. I just told myself that next time I don’t want to walk home alone. I have to maybe wait for other people that I know so that we can go together rather than going alone. Pfano : Did you report the incident to the police or campus security? Palesa : No I didn’t, I just took it that it was one of those days… Pfano : You didn’t report the crime, so no measures were taken against the criminal? Palesa : No, the criminal is still roaming around somewhere and probably attacking other people. Pfano : How has the incident affected your life? Palesa : Uhhhhm, I just felt that I wasn’t safe in South Africa and it got me thinking about the days left for me to finish my course. I was just wondering whether I will really finish. How many more are still to come and what am I going to do? My phone cost me R1 300, 00, can you imagine? Pfano : I can imagine I’m very sorry about what happened to you. Now, do you think that students are the most targeted and why? Palesa : I think especially international students, simply because I think that people believe that international students have money- they get other currencies. Pfano : What do you think can be done to address such issues and safeguard the lives of NMMU students? Palesa : In the past there used to be people patrolling around the Gomery Avenue, I think that should be continued. Pfano: Then you’d feel a lot safer going home? Palesa : Yes it would help a lot.
Respondent no.2 (Lebo) Pfano : Good morning Lebo, how are you? Lebo : I’m good thanks. Pfano : My first question to you is: have you been affected by crime and if so, how? Lebo : Well, it was about three weeks ago. I was on campus and unfortunately I had left the window open which made it easier for people to break into my house. They broke into my house and got my laptop, yeah that’s what happened. Pfano : I’m sorry about what happened to you. Now I want to find out how did you feel after the incident? Lebo : I was not very happy-as you may imagine and yeah I was disappointed. Pfano : Did you report the incident to any authorities- the police or campus security? Lebo : I did report the matter to the police but they didn’t help. Pfano : what happened- what did they do? Lebo : Like they didn’t get the fingerprints. They didn’t get all the necessary information that would have showed that they would investigate the matter further. Pfano : So, this means no actions were taken against the criminal? Lebo : Yeah. Pfano : Uhhhhm, How has the incident affected your life? Lebo : Uhhhhm, I’ve come to realize that South Africa is not a very safe place to live in and that something should be done to kind of curb down the rate of crime. And if the police are not doing their job, the High Commissioner should come up with other means to get the police to do their work. Pfano: That’s a very good suggestion, now do think that students are the most targeted, and if so why? Lebo : I would say around the Student Village or where the students live, the perpetrators are looking, especially for laptops and other items that they can easily sell. Pfano : What do you think can be done to address the issue and safeguard the lives of the students? Lebo : I think the police should patrol around the student village so that whoever is found looking around and is not a student can be arrested. Pfano : Alright thank you so much for sharing your story.
Respondent no.3 (Changu)
Pfano : Good morning Changu, how are you?
Changu : I’m fine thanks and you?
Pfano : I’m fine thanks, as explained earlier we are doing a focus group interview on how crime affects students. Have you been affected by crime?
Changu : Yes I have. About a year ago I was in the library studying in the library upstairs and I forgot my phone in one of the booths there. And when I came back to try and find my phone it was gone.
Pfano : I’m sorry about what happened to you. How did you feel after the incident?
Changu : I felt helpless because I didn’t know who to ask about the phone and where to go- how to look for it and it wasn’t even insured. So I just felt there was nothing I could do about it.
Pfano : Did you ever report the incident to campus security? Perhaps the police?
Changu : No I didn’t report it to anyone because like I said I didn’t know who to go to. There was no one to ask so I just took it that it’s gone.
Pfano : So you never had any follow-up regarding what happened to your phone?
Changu : No, I didn’t.
Pfano : Uhhm, How has the incident affected your life? Please explain broadly how it’s affected your life.
Changu : It was an inconvenience to lose my phone because obviously being in contact with other people was a bit of an issue. And you know, having group meetings and stuff, sometimes I wouldn’t get smses, id have to come to campus for emails and stuff. It was a huge inconvenience...
Pfano : Alright, do you think that students are the most targeted and why?
Changu : I would think so because I think criminals know that- for instance if I lost my phone my parents would replace it for me. So they assume that we have money and a lot of resources so they can steal from us and we can get more. So we are a target for them.
Pfano : Considering your phone was stolen on campus, do you have reason to believe it was a fellow student?
Changu : I think so because, who else could have been in the library but other students.
Pfano : So students are capable of being perpetrators of crime against other students?
Changu : I think so because if someone found my phone they should have given it in and I could have maybe gotten it from the secretary or something but no one did that. They obviously took the phone.
Pfano : What do you think can be done to address such issues and ensure the safety of students and their possessions on campus?
Changu : I think there should be cameras- in all angles, especially in public spaces like the library so that if your phone goes missing they can trace it back and see who took your phone.
Pfano: I think it’s a very good idea. Now do you have any other recommendations you would like to make? Changu : Ja I think they should also work with students and show them the consequences of crime. I don’t think its worth going to jail over a phone so I think they should have some campaigns against crime to highlight the consequences of crime. Pfano : Well thank you so much Changu. Changu : Thank you.
Respondent no. 4(Karabo)
Pfano : Good morning Karabo how are you? Karabo : I’m fine, thanks. Pfano : As you’ve heard we are conducting a focus group interview on how crime affects students. How have you been personally affected by crime? Karabo : I was a victim of a robbery, Uhhhhm. It happened whilst I was asleep and I woke up to find a lot of my electronics missing (cellphone, computer and other valuables). Pfano : How did you feel after this incident? Karabo : I woke up and I was feeling pretty shocked and very worried about how my parents would react to the story. The main problem was the feeling that some one has just been in your room… Pfano : Now did you report the incident to any authorities? Karabo : Yes I reported the incident to the police within 10 minutes of getting up and they got there after about 30 minutes. They promised to come back a little later, they took a report and a statement and that was the last I saw of them. They sent me a case number and said a docket was opened ad that was two months ago. Pfano : That’s very unfortunate… How has the incident affected your life though? Karabo : I’m a lot more careful now and I don’t take chances when I shouldn’t and I try my best to be as safe as possible. To be honest with you it changes you, you start being more careful and more vigilant. Pfano : Do you somehow feel you were in a way responsible for what happened to you? Karabo : Yes, it was my fault because id slept with the window open and that is how they gained entry into my room. I could have been more responsible. Pfano : Now what do you think can be done address such issues and safeguard the lives and possessions of students in and around campus? Karabo : The problem is there is a lot of robbery that occurs up the streets where students walk to and from campus. What could be done, which wouldn’t require much effort would be to hire security guards to patrol there every so often. It wouldn’t be a huge cost to hire security guards and place them at particular locations; as well it would be effective and would also target criminals easily. Pfano : Some of the respondents agree that students are the most targeted, do you agree with that and if so how? Karabo : That’s true because they know that students have certain things, for example: most students cannot go without a laptop or a cellphone. They know that most families don’t particularly have the same possessions as students. If you enter a house of students with six rooms you’ve got 6 chances of walking away with some valuables. Pfano : Well, thank you very much for responding to our questions and I’m truly really sorry about what happened to you. I hope that you’ll be more careful in the future. I also hope they catch the criminal… Karabo : Yeah sure.