Residents of Francistown have welcomed the decision by Botswana Police Service to install crime monitoring cameras at strategic points and main roads in the second city. Residents and motorists alike have been terrorised by thugs who robbed them of their belongings such as cell phones and cash with impunity.
Some of the residents were even afraid to visit clubs and local night spots due to some thugs who have been robbing them of their valuables. "We welcome such a development of installing the cameras because they will enhance our safety as we move around even at night. Some of us were very uncomfortable to move around at night," said one resident known as Pearl Thokgamo in an interview with this publication.
Thokgamo opined that the cameras will also boost investor confidence as prospective investors want to set up in places that are crime free. She added, "The city of Francistown leadership have embarked on an ambitious vision known as vision 2022 which wants to turn the second city into an investment destination of choice so I belief that beefing up security by installing the cameras will help the city to achieve its ambitious vision.
Another resident, Katlo Tebalo revealed that Francistown has turned into a criminal hub due to the influx of foreigners from neighbouring countries adding that women driving along the city roads have been mugged by notorious thugs who normally pounce on their victims at traffic lights. "With the arrival of those cameras, we are hopeful that such criminal activities will be greatly reduced," he said. Tebalo highlighted that they will now be free to visit entertainment places without the fear of being attacked by merciless criminals.
When addressing Francistown councillors recently, Senior Assistant Commissioner of Botswana Police (BPS), Gaboletswe Dimeko said the project of installing the crime monitoring cameras which costs over P200 million is expected to be completed by the end of this year. Dimeko, who is also the chairperson of the Safety City Project, highlighted that the first phase of the project resumed in Gaborone in the southern part of the country while the second phase of the project is currently being rolled out in the northern part of the country in Francistown. He further pointed out that in Gaborone they have also managed to install the cameras at the Gaborone Bus Rank.
He reiterated that the cameras will mostly help in reduction of the crime rate in both cities and ensure the safety of the citizens. Dimeko told the civic leaders that they have already renovated offices at Kutlwano Police Station, which will be used as a command centre. He told the councillors that the project would also provide two mobile command vehicles with satellite camera equipment, which can be deployed anywhere in the city.
Dimeko added that there would be over 500 cameras in the two cities inserted with facial recognition features, which will make it easy for the police to identify those that commit crime. The cameras, Dimeko noted, will be placed in 195 sites around Francistown. The type of technology that the cameras will use is fibre connectivity. The cameras would be installed in such a way that if there is an intruder at any area, an alarm will be sent to those supervising the system.