Violent crime fears grip Swakopmund

03 April 2017
Author   Donna Collins

The recent brutal attack of an 80-year-old pensioner, living alone in an upmarket suburb of Swakopmund, has sparked fear and unease among residents, many of whom are now considering installing security features at their homes.

Plans are also afoot to install CCTV cameras throughout the town, including in neighbourhoods, where ratepayers will be charged a small additional fee, to cover the costs.

According to the local police, up to 22 housebreaking cases a month are being reported, with increased violent attacks against innocent residents. Erongo Crime Investigations Co-ordinator, Deputy Commissioner Otillie Kashuupulwa, said that last week’s attack on Renate Ruhland, who was brutally beaten by three men in her home, was unforgiveable and shocking.

“We are faced with a new criminal element in our society, whose modus operandi is rapidly changing and unpredictable. These people could even be taking drugs for all we know, because why would anyone want to beat up an old woman,” she said, while referring to Ruhland, who was also threatened at knifepoint, before being robbed of only her watch and N$200. “People these days need to be more vigilant and take their personal security more seriously, because how can you expect to sleep safely in your home, when you have left your windows wide open,” Kashuupulwa said, adding that Mondesa and Kuisebmond, in Walvis Bay, are crime hotspots, where the police are on constant patrol. Erongo Police Public Relations Committee Chairperson, Annette Kötting, admitted that crime is escalating in Swakopmund, and that steps are being taken to protect residents. “Our laws, fines and courts need to be updated, in order to bring perpetrators to justice, because many of those that exist don’t apply in today’s world and society, lea
ving gaps in the system, where we have convicted criminals on the streets and perpetrators getting away with murder,” she fumed.

“The police are blaming the courts, who are blaming the witnesses, and there is a missing link between the charge office, investigating officer and the court,” she said.

“We have submitted a proposal to the municipality for the way forward to install CCTV cameras in all neighbourhoods, which would require ratepayers being charged a small additional fee to cover these costs, which is a small price to pay for the town’s safety.

“What I don’t understand is that video footage from CCTV cameras of the three attackers fleeing from the old woman’s house has still not provided any positive results, as the police have made no arrests.

“The top structures in all departments need to make sure that their people are doing their job; they must pull up their socks, because crime is becoming a serious matter and something serious needs to happen.” The Police Public Relations Committee works together with all law enforcement agencies, to ensure the safety of Swakopmund, its residents and the many visitors that come flooding to the coast.


The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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