Shedding light on the crime battle

15 July 2019 | Opinion

Nored’s intervention, which saw two high-mast lights being installed at Rundu’s Ndama location, should be commended.

Rundu is among the country’s towns that are dangerous at night, as those walking around after sunset can easily become the victims of the criminals who hide in its narrow, dark streets. We know this story too well in Namibia.

Namibian Sun reported recently how Rundu is faced with poor visibility at night, the result of a lack of lighting in its main streets.

Kavango East governor Samuel Mbambo has rightfully applauded Nored for constructing the two high-mast lights, through its corporate social responsibility programme.

The installations will provide much-needed aerial lighting to two extensions, in order to improve visibility and reduce crime.

Obviously the socio-economic conditions of the Ndama residents have now been improved drastically. This intervention puts into clear perspective the fact that fighting crime and improving the lives of ordinary Namibians does not take rocket science or a heavy-handed military intervention. In fact, instead of gung-ho actions by the state that lead to assault and even murder cases, holistic interventions are needed. It also raises the issue that a lack of real socio-economic interventions, even simple ones like proper lighting, have over the years resulted in criminals taking over neighbourhoods. We are not even going to discuss the role a lack of jobs and opportunities play in crime waves, as this is obvious and well-documented.

What Ndama shows is that a deeper and more concerted approach is required. Along with crime-prevention, there needs to be a range of social and economic interventions in our neighbourhoods. Proper policing would be one of these, but it is - on its own - not a solution. And neither is sending in the army. In fact, soldiers would be better suited to doing the manual labour to install the necessary infrastructure that will lead to safer neighbourhoods. This will also lead to much better relations between communities and the NDF.

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