THE Hardap region recorded a crime rate of 46% from 2021 to 2022 and the abuse of alcohol and drugs were identified as the main contributing factors for the prevalence of crime in the region – particularly with regards to common assault, assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm (GBH) and rape incidents.
This was highlighted by the Hardap regional commander, Sydney Philander, during the Namibian Police Force’s (NamPol) official ceremony for a drug awareness campaign that recently took place in Rehoboth, under the theme “Cleaning Rehoboth from illicit substances”.
The objective of the campaign was to raise awareness on the effects and consequences of engaging in criminal activities – specifically with regards to drug related matters – and to call on the public to assist with the fight against crime.
Philander said that since 2021, about 101 drug related cases were registered in the region and 138 suspects were arrested and charged for those crimes. He added that the value of the confiscated drugs totalled at N$742 780, of which a total of N$353 160 was attributed to confiscated Mandrax tablets.
Still, Philander explained, the quantities of the confiscated drugs are significantly less than what is currently available on the market. He thus stressed that more should be done to tackle the illegal distribution of drugs in the region.
“I would therefore like to encourage police officers to work hard with the available resources to outsmart the drug dealers,” Philander said.
According to Nampol’s Deputy Inspector General for Operations, Joseph Shikongo, the police is using all resources at its disposal to solve crimes against humanity. However, Shikongo noted that the police do not have enough resources to fight crime. For this reason, he urged the public to collaborate with the police to tackle crime in communities.
The need for public-police cooperation was further reiterated by the Nampol Spokesperson, Deputy Commissioner Kauna Shikwambi, who explained that the battle against drugs is complex and it therefore requires efforts from the public as well.
“We need to work better together to provide more support, especially to people battling addictions. We need to continue to disrupt every point of the supply chain – and that’s where we need your help and support,” she explained.
Shikwambi noted that such efforts are especially necessary in Rehoboth as the town is regarded as a “drug hotspot in Namibia”. To illustrate this, she revealed that the town has been under surveillance since mid-June. She disclosed that the operation led to the arrest of a teacher who was found in possession of over 2 000 Mandrax tablets. Besides this, she said, the operation also led to the searching of 20 drug suspected houses, which resulted in the arrest of three men.
According to Shikwambi, these incidents prove the seriousness of the problem, thereby highlighting the importance of drug awareness programs and the need to expose drug-dealers.
“We must run continuous programs together to identify those criminals and bring them to book so that we can ultimately restore law and order and make Rehoboth a safe and progressive town for future generations,” she added.