8 November 2018

Namibia: 49 000 Criminal Cases in Six Months

POLICE yesterday said they recorded 49 000 criminal cases between March and August this year, with murder, robbery and theft of motor vehicles on the rise.

Addressing the security sector parade in Windhoek, the deputy minister of safety and security, Daniel Kashikola, said crime has been rising in the country over the past five years. During these five years, there was also a decrease in common assault by 49%, assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm by 7,9%, and rape by 2,2% countrywide.

The security sector parade, which was attended by inspector general Sebastian Ndeitunga, officers from the police, representatives from neighbourhood watch bodies and representatives of the Women-and-Men Networks against Crime in Khomas, was aimed at informing the participants on the current crime statistics, and steps to ensure safety in the country.

Kashikola said more than 22 800 cases were reported between March and May this year, while between June and August, police recorded more than 26 400 cases.

"There are 10 types of crimes predominant in Namibia, namely assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm, common assault, theft from or out of motor vehicles, theft of cellphones, all other kinds of theft, housebreaking of residential premises, malicious damage to property, robbery, stock theft and crimen injuria," he explained.

The theft of cellphones increased by 29,5%, murder by 9,5%, robbery by 36,2%, theft of motor vehicles by 34,4%, and stock theft by 21,4%.

The regions most affected by crime over the last two months are Khomas, Otjozondjupa, Erongo and Oshana.

"All Namibian Police Force regional commanders and their respective regional management teams are under strict orders to ensure that crime is, at the very least, reduced in their regions," Kashikola said, adding that dockets must also be managed efficiently so that there are no delays in prosecuting accused persons.

"As you are aware, crime instils a tremendous amount of fear in citizens. Therefore, as we approach the end of the year festive season, operations should be scaled up to ensure that our citizens and the visitors to our beautiful country enjoy maximum safety and unique peace of mind," he urged.

The deputy minister said all police regional commanders are thus instructed to conduct intensive nationwide crime prevention operations in every town, village and township, focusing on visible policing, and conducting special crime awareness and intelligence-led anti-crime operations.

He also called on the private sector, local banks and other business entities and individuals to join the fight against crime.

"They have a crucial role to play, for instance in combatting money laundering, and facilitating the identification of criminals, especially robbers who target bank customers after they withdraw large sums of money, by having proper close circuit television (CCTV) cameras on all business premises and their surroundings," the politician said.

Besides, Kashikola said they would propose an amendment in the Liquor Act to make it compulsory for alcohol outlet owners to install CCTVs at their premises before the issuance of a licence or the renewal of their licence can be effected.

"Some of their premises have become havens for drug trafficking, alcohol abuse, and all sorts of criminal activities. They need to install crime prevention devices to complement the policing services provided by their local police stations," he said in relation to these outlets.

Other issues highlighted were the involvement of taxi drivers in criminal activities in Windhoek, and some vehicles displaying false number plates to avoid identification.

At the event, inspector general Sebastian Ndeitunga expressed concern with the increase in the unemployment rate, especially among the youth, and the abuse of alcohol.

"High rates of youth unemployment translate into personal misfortune and lost opportunities for some individuals. This has the potential to instigate economically frustrated individuals to engage in socially unacceptable acts, some of which may result in crime or social instability," he stated.

Ndeitunga also launched the strategic plan for 2017 to 2022, which has been designed to direct the police's work processes to the important ideas of crime prevention.

In addition, the customer service charter was also launched, which has been developed to provide further assurance to the public on the standard of service they should expect to get from the police.

The inspector general said the strategic plan would include projects such as crime prevention, which will comprise improvements in response time, case docket investigation to be sub-divided into newly reported cases and backlog cases, and the enhancement of skills and competency in core function areas through training and development.

To ensure that the strategic plan is implemented, Ndeitunga said officers will be sensitised, trained and educated on what to do, and resources will be needed for that.

They will thus try to fulfil their promises with the limited budget they received this year.

Ndeitunga also called for salary increases from inspectors downwards, as he does not want to lose inspectors who resign to look for greener pastures.

This week, police deputy commissioner Edwin Kanguatjivi said that during October, the police drug law enforcement division had arrested 126 people on drug-related crimes, and seized drugs with a street value of nearly N$2 million.

Out of the people who were arrested are 115 Namibians, eight Angolans, a Burundian, a Tanzanian and a Zambian.

Kanguatjivi further said that the drugs seized were mainly cannabis (3 900 kilogrammes), Mandrax (141 tablets), cocaine powder (18,8 grams) crack cocaine (four units) and crystal meth "tik" (two straws).

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