Crime under control during festive season

Criminals were kept in check while residents and visitors to the coast behaved themselves over the holiday season.
Shaldon Johannes
The police in the Erongo region said they had the crime situation under control over this festive season, managing to protect visitors and residents.

However, it was an exceptionally busy time for the police, with some of the disturbing incidents involving two drownings recorded on Christmas Day, a few robberies and persons losing their lives in road accidents.

Before the end of December, seven people were arrested for drunk driving.

“People should not be so brave as to pass through checkpoints whilst above the alcohol limit. Overall, members of the public behaved really well. We have not witnessed many cases of major concern and commend residents and visitors for their cooperation,” said the unit commander for community service in the Erongo region, inspector Ileni Shapumba.

According to Shapumba, measures implemented to strengthen crime combating efforts included the deployment of officers on an ad hoc basis with sporadic checkpoints supplementing the officers on duty at the 24-hour checkpoints at the Yianni Savva Police Station (between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund) and on the entry point of Swakopmund from Arandis.

“We intensified existing measures. Senior police personnel, including deputy commissioners, community leaders and politicians, joined members of the force on daily patrols. In addition, members of the Special Field Force from Windhoek supplemented crime-fighting efforts in especially Swakopmund where we experienced a significant influx of holidaymakers.”

Shapumba added that most liquor outlets complied and closed shop on Christmas Day compared to other holidays. “Some were authorised to trade and some not on New Year’s Eve. We visited many outlets and reminded them to abide by the law.”

He said that there were no major issues experienced at liquor outlets.

“However, some acts of crime were committed by persons under the influence of alcohol. As a result of alcohol abuse, we had a spike in gender-based violence/domestic violence, and we had people being attacked on the streets at night. Owners should also not allow customers to enter their establishments with dangerous weapons.”

With regards to burglaries, Shapumba said that some homeowners do not want to fit burglar bars. “They say that they do not want to feel like they live in a jail cell. However, we encourage residents to rather leave a trustworthy person to look after their home, or notify the police and the Neighbourhood Watch when you travel.”

Shampumba emphasised that the police cannot exist without the community. “We need the support and a good working relationship with the public to ensure effective policing. This will allow us to intensify and focus on problem areas.” - [email protected]