Once an island of peace, Tlokweng, located a a short distance east of Gaborone has turned into a haven for criminals. The Monitor Staff Writer, PINI BOTHOKO observes that Tlokweng, now a melting pot of economic migrants and bargain hunters for affordable accommodation, is experiencing an upsurge in criminal activities that has left law-abiding neighbours in constant fear of their lives
For the majority of people who relocate from far-flung villages for greener pastures in Gaborone, their first stop is Tlokweng village for cheaper or affordable accommodation.
While boosting the estate business for Batlokwa, this however has comes along with bad things like the increase in criminal activities as the population of the village increases exponentially.
For those who were last in Tlokweng 10 years ago, the village is so rapidly urbanising it now looks like another part of Gaborone
It is an area where even unemployed people as well as illegal immigrants targets for cheaper accommodation.
The exodus to Tlokweng has resulted in thugs moving in as well and claiming their spot.
Those from Tlokweng, are, or have been followed there by their fellow hoodies from as far as Mogoditshane and Old Naledi to roam the streets, night and day, in order to deprive residents of their valuables, including their lives.
This rapid urbanisation has meant even the lifestyles of residents have changed from neighbours wo speak to their neighbours only in monosyllables to those who walk past ech otehr withou word of greeting.
It has meant people minding their own business- that is living next to each other, but not at any time exchanging words, hence giving criminals the opportunity to penetrate easily.
People’s goods are stolen everyday whether day or night and not even the comfort of their homes can keep them safe as the perpetrators also find a way of breaking into their houses even in their presence.
Recently three culprits attacked, robbed and raped three women. The victims were a wife and her husband’s two female cousins in his presence at Masetheng ward.
The incident, though there are countless others, left residents reeling in shock. Reports are that they attacked the family around 10pm and spent the whole night with them until they leftearly in the morning.
They allegedly tied up the husband, and then proceeded to rape his wife and cousins whilst the husband was looking on helplessly.
Then they took his ATM card and went to withdraw P12,000 from his account. To date, the police have not arrested anyone in connection to the offence as the culprits appear to have disappeared into thin air.
There have been incidents in the past of villagers being attacked while sleeping and their goods stolen by unknown culprits who then vanish into the night leaving no trail. The criminals usually target television sets, mobile phones, laptops and valuable goods, which afterwards they sell cheaply.
It is taboo for one to leave their laundry on the washing line overnight as it would be gone in the morning.
Sleeping with windows open or with the door unlocked, especially when it is unbearably hot, is an open invitation to the heartless robbers and walking alone at night is a real risk to one’s life as the criminals lurk in the dark alleys, bushy areas and isolated passages and pounce on unsuspecting victims, who
Even businesses are under attack from the criminals who break into shops and offices at night with perpetrators using a method of blasting safes, at times even the door ,to gain entry. There have also been reports of businesses held at gunpoint during the day.
Last year in another incident, thieves blasted Pep Stores, an incident in which one of the perpetrators ended up losing his legs after he got injured in the process.
Tlokweng police station commander, Superintendent Robson Maleka confirmed crime is on the rise in his policing area.
He said that they are working to mitigate the house break-ins by working closely with clusters, hence engaging residents.
“We have been encouraging residents to form cluster policing in which they can help each other to curb crime. We have observed that some people are neighbours, but never say a word to each other hence could not spot a stranger amongst them because they do not know each other,” Maleka said.
He stated that when people come together even the thieves could realise and stay away from their neighbourhood. He said that cases of house breaking, burglary and pick pocketing are reported daily on his station keeping the police on their toes.
He also expressed concern of other crimes like threat-to-kill, assault to mention but a few that remain the station’s headache Maleka however revealed that at cluster policing meetings, they share information and crime prevention tips to help reduce crime, but shockingly crime remains an ever-preent evil despite these efforts, that include joint patrols around the village, day and night.
Sharing the same sentiments, Kgosi Stephen Korwe expressed a concern over the rising crime incidents in the village.
He said that common crimes reported daily in the village sre house breakings and assaults. Kgosi Korwe revealed that the common perpetrators are unemployed youth who prefer to stay home and trouble their parents and also engage in crime.
He however blamed some parents for spoiling their children something that he say is behind their acts. “Many families in this village rent out their houses and make a lot of money per month. Their children take advantage of that as they no longer want to work knowing that there is a ready income from rent every month end. Some parents have the habit of giving such children money every month end.
How can such person look for job? When they are not given money they engage into criminal activities,” Korwe said.
Last week at a full council meeting, Tlokweng sub-council chairperson, Nnaniki Nkwe raised a concern of rising crime in Tlokweng, saying that some school going children were involved in drugs.
She also revealed statistics of offences recorded in high numbers that increased from the last reporting period to date. She asked the councillors to convince their constituents to join police efforts in fighting crime.