Swakopmund is rather bloodied and beaten at the moment – SRA

Poor Swakopmund is rather bloodied and beaten at the moment. We have had two shocking attacks on elderly people resulting in three deaths and another terrible fire in the middle of town, (the 5th in about 35 years).
Sincere sympathy goes to all businesses, which suffered from the fire but especially to the family members of those who died, as we are all part of the whole and we feel and understand the pain they have suffered.
As a result of these tragedies, our community has united against the brutal atrocities and the weakness of the law, and protests and petitions have been organised. They must be supported. But each of us now needs a more realistic approach to our personal safety. Walk around your home on the outside. Check your windows and ask yourself how you would get in if you did not have a key. Look at low walls which offer access to your roof or second story.
Ask your agile younger children or good neighbours to ‘break in’ to your home and you will soon realise your weak areas. Be wise and take the trouble to ensure your safety. At a good meeting initiated by Police Warrant Officer Ileni Shapumba, with Neighbourhood Watch, and well supported by the public, the following points were highlighted:
#Swakopmund has reduced police numbers because of budgetary constraints on recruitment.
# There is a lack of municipal control of car guards, taxis and taxi numbers…
Swakopmund licences for taxis were limited to 300 but Windhoek registered taxis are being run here, which means that we have a surplus of these members looking for business in our town.
# Out of date by-laws prevent the municipality from controlling beggars and aggressive hawkers
#It was strongly recommended that all workers be screened and profiled before employment and copies of their ID documents made.
#Alarm systems should be upgraded
# Neighbourhood Watch, which does such good work in our town, needs more members.
Probably one of the strongest points made was that neighbourhood communities must look after themselves. We should all have a WhatsApp group with the numbers of our neighbours on our phones.
We should report any suspicious movements or lurkers; we should inform our neighbours when we are going to be away. Knowledge is power and we are often told that prevention is the key to our safety. The time to ensure this, is now. Driving through Swakopmund one so often sees a naive tourist surrounded by a group of would-be hawkers, who are harassing them for a sale. This is simply not safe, we know that, but if we stop and say something we are viciously abused by the hawkers and very often, perceived as racist by perhaps the tourist, and others. It is a difficult situation and one wonders if these tourists, who want to be friendly, rather than badmannered, are warned by their accommodation centres and given advice on how to handle these situations, with no eye-contact, no conversation etc.
Swakopmunders, take care. Follow the expert advice given and be safe. Be vigilant; look after yourself, your neighbour and therefore your community.

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