- Minister Mmusi says more surveillance cameras will be installed
- Assures the public that more patrols are being mounted
- Mayor blames “dark city” for rising smash and grab attacks
Growing incidents of smash and grab in Gaborone are the result of lapses in policing, the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Kagiso Mmusi, has admitted.
In an interview with The Botswana Gazette this week, Minister Mmusi said although inadequate resources were hampering efforts to keep the city crime-free, more police personnel were being deployed to patrol hotspots around the city.
“The police commissioner is working on it,” he said. “I think they are on top of it and will address those dangerous areas. From yesterday (Monday) we started to deploy more personnel and you should note that we have put up surveillance cameras in some areas in the city and the crime rate has been low. In some of the incidents the police already know who the perpetrators are, thanks to the cameras.”
He added that a tender for installation of more cameras has been floated and noted that the criminals pounce on members of the public as soon as a patrol squad leaves for another area. “I have received a report on what transpired recently and assure you and the nation that the police will improve their tactics because we can all see that the (smash and grab) crime has gone up,” Mmusi said. “A lot of criminals have been apprehended through the help of these cameras.”
Surveillance cameras and similar devices are increasingly being relied upon to buttress evidence in courts around the world. In the past, criminals have walked free from the courts for lack of evidence.
The Mayor of Gaborone, Father Maphongo, recently conceded that darkness in much of the city at night was a factor in the rise in violent crime. “We have to acknowledge that Gaborone is dark, making it unsafe at night,” the Mayor said. “That is the reason we have devised a strategy to ensure lighting in the shortest time.”
He disclosed that the city council had erected 23 light towers and is awaiting Botswana Power Corporation to connect them and that 20 more would be erected while streetlights are repaired.
The Commissioner of Police Keabetswe Makgophe and the Managing Director of Huawei Botswana Ren Fujun signed an agreement for a safer city project in 2017.
Makgophe said that the project was necessary for effective policing through use of surveillance cameras. He emphasized that the project – which would commence in Gaborone and then Francistown – would result in crime-free streets and improved security in general.