Crime threatens to govern our society

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Uncle Bob Kandetu-Crime has reached endemic proportions in Namibia, particularly in particular. A young lady circulated a clip on social media warning drivers that her father’s friend was chased by a car with four occupants and they vainly tried to force him to stop. After the chase through several streets he sped to the Katutura police station, according to the narrator.

Close to the station they stopped and got off the vehicle and he could see through the rear mirror that they wore yellow overalls. They disappeared before police arrived.

In another incidence, a young lady entered a taxi from Khomasdal towards Katutura, with only two other occupants. The occupants communicated thorough the central mirror, prompting the young lady to became suspicious. She quietly pulled out her pepper spray gun. As they approached the front of the Augustineum High School, the driver said to the one in the back: Are you getting off here? The other man grabbed the young lady from behind around her neck but she sprayed him with the pepper in his face, prompting him to run away.

The driver tried to speed away but he too was sprayed with pepper in his face. The brave young lady blew the horn of the car and thus attracted the attention of other vehicles. The car hit a pavement, came to a halt and two vehicles stopped. That’s when the driver of the taxi sped away.

Interestingly, while the lady was making statements at the police station, police called her outside to identify a taxi and its occupants. This was a different car with different occupants, but the number plate was similar to the one of the culprit taxi.

Law and order is at best tenuous in Windhoek, the western suburbs in particular, and the more things are expected to change the more they remain the same. The latest developments are the birth of criminal groups in Katutura.
These gangs are composed of boys, mostly aged between fourteen and twenty. They terrorise neighbourhoods, rob houses and assault residents with the intent to mete out serious bodily harm. These groups have been known for some time and their pictures have been carried on social media, but they have remained on the loose.

They would loot communities and disappear to hide among their traditional communities in places like Otjinene, Otjiwarongo, Okakarara and others. It was not until some community members implored Councillor Ambrosius Kandjii of Katutura Central Constituency that we saw action being taken. Councillor Kandjii decided to take the role of the police as he normally does when there is something that police handling without energy.

He stepped to center stage and some of the community members joined his night searches throughout the townships. And this is how some of these gangsters were apprehended. Councillor Kandjii managed to implore some of the parents to come forward and participate in this campaign to bring their children to life again and hopefully to embark on a journey to their rehabilitation. The difficulty we encounter during these challenges is that when our children go astray in their conduct, there are parents who protect them and scheme get-away plans when the net closes on these culprit children.

Albert Einstein is right: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”. When it comes to dealing with crime, our policing mentality and model deserve a review. I listened to a police officer giving the traffic report for the Friday morning. The officer concluded by saying that criminals are on the rampage and since it was the end of the month, citizens were advised to stay indoors after dark, in order to steer clear of criminals.

I had expected to hear the police officer say, because it is Friday and end of the month, police will have reinforcements and we shall deploy at all street corners. Equally counter-productive is the notion that police officers must be stationed in hundreds at police stations to await calls to the scenes of crime. These never work as they always arrive after the fact and just collect crime statistics. City Police would from time to time deploy police officers on bicycles but only in the Central Business District areas of Windhoek, not in the Western suburbs where crime is the order of the day.

My last note goes to our communities. We harbour this mistaken believe that government can do all things pertaining to human development, even when we have glaring evidence to the contrary. We blame the government for the mess in our education system, perhaps rightly so, but we fail to appreciate that we also have a role to play in helping the children to make it through school.

When our children derail from school and take to alcohol and other social ills, we lie down and blame the economy, when we can at least try like other parents do, to contain the behavior of our children. As we speak, some communities are demonstrating against the moratorium placed by their city councillors on the proliferation of shebeens, while we recognise that the advent of such watering holes has brought about adverse circumstances on our communities.

We decry the problems associated with taxis as a medium of transport, yet we cannot confront the leaders of our taxi associations for dismal challenges associated with this mode of transport. We must one day call ourselves to order and decide what we want for our societies and how we shall obtain that, particularly those of us who live in communities that are exposed to these national hazards. And we must dispel the myth that security must be reserved for the exclusive protection of the most important people in our society. In all these matters, nothing will happen until we decide.

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