Robbers target the elderly

Elderly people living in Swakopmund are warned to be extra cautious amid a spate of home invasions.

26 March 2021 | Crime

IRENE-MARI VAN DER WALT

SWAKOPMUND

The Swakopmund Neighbourhood Watch (SNW) has expressed concern over a recent spate of violent robberies targeting the elderly.

“We are deeply concerned for the safety of all elderly citizens living on their own, as it seems that criminals are now specifically targeting the elderly,” a member of the SNW wrote in a WhatsApp message.

The SNW appealed to everyone who has elderly parents, family or friends living on their own to advise them to be extra cautious.

Recent attacks

Three violent attacks on elderly persons have occurred in the past ten days.

The attacks occurred during the day and in two of the incidents, the victims were at home alone.

The first incident took place at a home in Albertina Amathila Avenue, where an elderly woman was attacked in her kitchen. Her daughter, who was in the garden, started screaming and the robber ran away.

The second robbery took place in Berg Street and involved an elderly woman who returned home after a shopping trip.

The robber followed her into the house, threw her to the ground and pinned her down with his knee on her throat while stealing cash and a cellphone from her handbag.

The third incident took place on Friday morning in Seeadler Street, where a 79-year-old man was attacked and robbed in his flat.

The man was left bleeding and with no means to summon help as he was too weak. His wife found him two hours later when she returned home.

Limited capacity

The chairperson of the Erongo Regional Council, Ciske Howard, condemned the attacks.

“This is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. I met the Swakopmund Police last week to discuss their shortcomings and how best to assist them to be more sufficient on the ground.”

Howard said the police in Swakopmund are not receiving the necessary support from their line ministry.

“The holding cells are at 150% capacity. Constant budget cuts make it very difficult and cumbersome for the police to do their job. Despite this, police officers are trying their best.”

Worrisome trend

Acting regional police commander Tobie Gerber labelled the sudden spike in assaults on elderly persons as worrisome.

Gerber warned elderly people not to trust persons approaching them for help.

“We know that criminals use the guise of being homeless to approach unsuspecting people for help and once they gain access to property, they rob them.”

The head of community policing in the region, Inspector Ileni Shapumba, said a meeting was convened where the recent crimes against the elderly were discussed.

“The regional command directed all station commanders to ensure that the culprits are arrested. The elderly are defenceless. In most instances the culprits involved in such crimes are neglected and rejected youngsters. This points to social issues that need to be addressed collectively.”

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