It is amazing how one little mistake of forgetting to close your window properly can easily become a window of opportunity for people with sticky fingers in Bloemfontein, South Africa. I recently found out the hard way.
It was about 10am on a Wednesday and I had just woken up. I wanted some fresh air in my room, so I opened my window. I then took out my laptop and started plying some soul music while I prepared myself for my class, which was at 12pm. I finished preparations a bit early, so I also played some chess on my laptop to just to kill some time. Little did I know that this would be the last time I ever see or touch my laptop.
Since I live about twenty minutes away from campus I decided to leave my room at about 11:30. I locked my room and headed out, and as I headed out the house I noticed that I had forgotten to close my window. But instead of going back to my room and locking my window properly, I decided to just push it in to seem as if it was closed. Something in me kept telling me to go back in side and lock the window but I ignored it. “There are burglar proofs installed on the window and nothing can get in,” I told myself as I walked away.
I got to school on time and since I only had one class for the day when I was done I walked back to my commune. When I got to my gate I was shocked to see that my curtain and window were wide open. And when I looked a bit closer I also noticed that the burglarproof thing was removed from the window and was lying down on my bed. “No! No! No! Please no!” I screamed out to myself.
I quickly ran inside the gate and headed straight to my room. I looked around on my study table where I had left my laptop, and I was shocked to see that it was no longer there. I couldn’t believe this was happening to me. All my school notes were in that laptop and we were about to start with our first semester exams. I wanted to break down and cry but a part of me wouldn’t let me. “Crying won’t bring back your laptop.” I thought to myself.
I suddenly felt a bit dizzy so I went and sat on my bed. I just couldn’t understand how somebody could just break in to my room and steal my laptop without even getting caught by some of my roommates. Worst of all I couldn’t believe that this thing was happening in a university community.
Before this incident I always thought that of my university community, Univeritas in Bloemfontein as one of those small and quiet neighborhoods with minimal criminal activity. This was one of the reasons that motivated me to come and study in Bloemfontein instead of other places, such as Johannesburg.
Johannesburg is one of the most dangerous cities in South Africa. People get robbed left right and center in broad daylight and in front of many people. Things are so bad there that other people are so afraid to get involved when they see somebody getting robbed. Instead of helping the victims they just watch as they get robbed. Now Bloemfontein is slowly becoming like one of those dangerous places.
It is no longer safe to walk around the streets. Just the other month three of my roommates got robbed of their cell phones and textbooks at knifepoint on one of the street in Univeritas while coming back from school. And that’s not all. One of my other roommate’s rooms was broken into in the middle of the night as well. Likely she was still inside her room and the culprit ran after hearing her scream out loudly.
It’s not just my roommates who are affected by these terrible incidents. Many other communes are being broken into as well. Just two weeks ago my friend’s commune was broken into. Some young men robbed them of their laptops and smart phones at gunpoint.
The police are nowhere near to catching these criminals. It’s not that these criminals are hard to find. From what I hear many students seem to think that these people who are committing all these crimes are also students at the very same university we all go to. However, when we call the police, like in my case, they take their time to get to the scene of the crime. When they eventually do come they just take your statement and don’t bother to interview anybody else to see if those people might have seen anything. It took them two days to just to come and look for fingerprints on my window. At that time many people had already touched my window and the fingerprints that the police got might have been from anybody.
While police are busy messing up these thieves are busy becoming experts in targeting their classmates and robbing them of their valuable possessions. So thanks to all these criminals Bloemfontein will never be the same nor will I ever see my laptop again.