The crime rate in our communities is likely to drop with the help of willing community members through a newly established local programme; community policing, says Windhoek City Police.
The City Police has come up with this programme to engage community members in the fight crimes.
The head of crime prevention in Windhoek City Police, Garry Shikesho says, “Community members are involved in preventing crimes in Windhoek. We also have different strategies in place for preventing these crimes, in which CCTV cameras, for example, are used. The cameras are in 29 strategic positions around the city so far.”
Another strategic programme is the Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving (COPPS). The success of this programme will be enabled by ‘working groups’ and members of the Windhoek community within the existing 19 zones.
These working groups are required to find solutions by working hand-in-hand with the police.
COPPS is not only about sharing information with the people but it also deals with different programmes; crime prevention by re-design, crime prevention through social development and related programmes.
“We simply do not want to react to crimes but we want to prevent them from happening,” Shikesho said.
He further said, “The number of general crimes in Windhoek has stabilised at the moment. We have the statistics of the thefts, murders and even rape cases since the beginning of this year. The number has decreased compared to last year in different cases. And this is done weekly.
“COPPS has been a success since its inception early this year and it is because of community policing, which is the involvement of the community members and the police in crime prevention.”
However, COPPS urges the members of the community who they work with not to take matters into their own hands whenever they catch perpetrators but to report them. They also urge them to report any suspicious activities in the neighbourhood immediately after they occur.
According to Shikesho, the reason why some community members do not want to be involved in these programmes is because they do not understand their importance, “They only come to realise how important these programmes are when something bad happens to them.”
The working groups can only consist of a small number of people because the bigger the groups, the likelier it is for criminals to join and masquerade as part of the ‘working group’.
Community involvement in crime prevention is very important but as ordinary people, we are all at fear as to what would happen to us if we had to risk our lives to save one of our neighbours.
On that note, Shikesho guarantees the protection of these community groups ‘because it is in our hands to protect our people’.