SECURITY guards have taken the initiative and bumped up their responsibilities, by escorting university students home, after 16 students reported they were either mugged or robbed since the beginning of the year.Students face the daunting task of walking to and from the Pietermaritzburg campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), with many fearing for their safety.In a string of reported robbery cases, Mi7 Security Intelligence’s Collin David said they are aware of a robbery last Sunday involving three men near the campus relating to two students who had previously been robbed by the same men who own a white Opel Corsa bakkie, and a cellphone robbery earlier this month involving four men using a firearm, among others. David said that these are just a few of the cases they have dealt with, reporting that all in all, they are aware of 16 robberies since January, but these are just the cases that have been reported. According to SRC member Ziyanda Mqikela, UKZN Risk Management Services (RMS) and Mi7 are assisting in escorting students home between the hours of 8 pm and 4 am. Several hot spots have been identified by Mi7’s David and include areas such as Golf Road, Ridge Road, St Patricks Road and Alan Paton Avenue. UKZN spokesperson Normah Zondo said that the management has noticed an in- crease in criminal activities targeting UKZN students outside the Pietermaritzburg campus. “We have Mi7 in place patrolling the area and are aware that these crimes take place either at night or when students are alone. “For now, [there are] additional safety measures, include RMS providing an escort system between campuses, which we urge students to use,” said Zondo. Masters student Sbonelo Dladla said that ever since an incident whereby he was shot at with paintball guns and assaulted by three men while riding his bicycle nearby campus, he has been on high alert.He said he never takes any chances by walking alone at night.Spokesperson for the police, Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese, confirmed that the police will be strengthening its presence around UKZN in an attempt to ward of possible criminals.