City police chief Leevi Iileka says there has been a rise in the disruption of public peace and safety by people living and working on the streets.
“We have been experiencing, with great concern, an increasing number of children living and working on the streets. These pressing issues not only jeopardise the health and safety of these individuals, but also pose health and safety risks to other residents as they become a threat to public safety.
“They are causing disturbances of peace, harassment, loitering, drug abuse and traffic obstruction,” he says.
Iileka was addressing the media about a rise in cases of theft under false pretences on Friday.
He said there have been several cases in which members of the public have been robbed while trying to assist such perpetrators, particularly women.
“In a recent incident, a woman fell victim to a robbery when she was approached by street children asking for money. While she was reaching into her handbag, they grabbed her phone and ran off with it,” he said.
Iileka said such incidents are especially rife in and around Windhoek’s central business district.
He said cash donations to people living on the streets support their bad habits, keeping them in a cycle of homelessness.
Iileka said members of the public should rather channel their resources to social service providers such as after-school centres.
“The Windhoek City Police Service wishes to discourage members of the public from giving money to children and adults living and working on the streets,” he said.
Social service providers are working in conjunction with state institutions to achieve long-term solutions for individuals living and working on the streets, he said.
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