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UCT hits back at on- and off-campus crime
August 2011, Security Services & Risk Management, News, IT infrastructure

A recent study by Grant Thornton reveals that approximately 50% of the South African population has, in some way, been affected by contact crime over the past 12 months. The effects of this national crisis are being widely felt, with many of the country’s top universities having also reported an increasing number of violent incidents – both in and outside campus borders - over the past few years.

The University of Cape Town (UCT) has taken a major step towards addressing this issue with the launch of E9, an initiative which enhances on- and off-campus security efforts. E9 provides all students, staff and family members with access to a dedicated helpline, available at the touch of a button, 24 hours a day.

By simply dialling the number 9 from their mobile phones, users will be able to transmit their precise location to campus security, as well as to a pre-selected friend or family member should they find themselves in an emergency situation. This marks a huge step forward for the university, which is now able to extend and refine its existing security infrastructure, and offer both staff and students increased peace of mind, irrespective of time or location.

The E9 service is managed using the campus’s existing incident management software, which provides a central operations management platform from which to log and track all incidents. This integrates seamlessly with the E9 service in order to facilitate efficient, effective response and investigation.

According to Roland September, director of Camprosa (the Campus Protection Society of southern Africa) and head of UCT’s security department, technology has a vital role to play in providing security and peace of mind for both students and staff: “The security of our students and staff is paramount, and contributes immeasurably to a productive campus environment. Systems such as E9 are vital when it comes to managing a successful campus protection division, and can be used as effective force multipliers, maximising the reach of our existing security operation.”

E9 is available to regular subscribers at a cost of R10 per month, but will be made free to UCT’s almost 25 000 students and over 3000 staff members when the second semester commences on 25 July.

UCT’s E9 initiative is sponsored by MMad, a newly launched retail and lifestyle portal that provides on-the-go solutions for the mobile generation. MMad’s CEO, Waheed Adam, believes that E9 represents the next step for mobile technology in South Africa.

“South Africa is one of the current world leaders in the field of mobile technology, and is progressing in leaps and bounds in terms of its ability to offer practical, meaningful solutions such as E9,” explains Adam. “We decided to sponsor this initiative as it truly represents the future, and encapsulates what the MMad brand stands for – fast, immediate and functional applications for an increasingly mobile generation.”

E9 will be implemented for a focused trial period of three months, after which it is expected to be rolled out to a number of other universities across the country.

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