Erongo police conduct weekend patrol

A police patrol at Swakopmund over the weekend provided insight into the criminal activities disturbing the peace of the community.

Namibian Police inspector general Joseph Shikongo, Erongo governor Neville Andre and Swakopmund mayor Dina Namubes, as well as members of the media, joined approximately 120 police officers from the region for the community patrol on Friday night.

The patrol continued until the early hours of Saturday and included visits to several entertainment establishments in and around the town. The initiative allowed the delegation to see what is happening on the ground and to hear the concerns of residents and visitors to the region.

Through engagements with members of the community, it came to light that more patrols and police visibility are needed, as well as more CCTV cameras, particularly in hotspot areas that are vulnerable to criminal activity.

One such area lies between Mondesa and the DRC informal settlement, behind the railway line, members of the public reported.

They said the dark area is a criminal’s paradise due to its remoteness, lack of roads for police patrols and the absence of lighting.

It was evident that many people relieve themselves in the area due to the widespread lack of toilets and other ablution facilities. The section is also strewn with rubble, making it easy for criminals to attack and hide from the authorities.

Community members further called for habitual offenders not to be given bail.

Shikongo said the operation made it clear that the Swakopmund community need lasting solutions to curb crime and ensure the holiday resort town is a safe place for all.

“The community is ready to work with law enforcement to ensure that criminals are rooted out of our society,” Shikongo said.

He added that the police aim to ensure that the whole country is safe for all so that any Namibian can walk freely without fear of becoming a victim of crime.

Shikongo said it was not the police’s intention to close any outlets, however, the disorderly conduct of patrons necessitated difficult decisions in the best interest of the community.

Shikongo called on both the mayor and the governor to engage with the community about revellers smashing glass bottles on the ground, violent behaviour and people carrying sharp objects and other weapons into bars.

During the patrol at one bar, intoxicated patrons used vulgar language and displayed threatening behaviour towards the dignitaries.

Shikongo said the law is very clear in terms of the Liquor Act, and he called on bar and shebeen owners to ensure orderly conduct by their patrons.

“To the criminals, I send out a stern warning, the long arm of the law is about to catch up with them and we are ready,” Shikongo said.

Andre applauded the police for the initiative, which included all units, reservists, volunteers and a small youth group.

“Community patrols are very important, as they create an opportunity for the police to engage with the public where they can see what the issues are that need to be addressed,” Andre added.

Andre said increased police visibility will restore the public’s confidence, particularly for people who have been victims of crime.

Namubes said all relevant stakeholders in the safety and security sector need to get involved to help make Swakopmund a safe haven.

Speaking after the operation, Namubes thanked the police for heeding the public’s call for increased visibility.

“Let us unite and continue these operations on a continued basis as the community has requested and let us work together and save the lives of our people,” Namubes said.

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