Standing Tall Above The Rest In Fighting Crime

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He comes across as a towering figure. Thulaganyo Thutoetsile, the chairman of Gaborone Block 5 crime fighting cluster, is walking tall for many reasons this week.

Their crime prevention strategies have catapulted Block 5 to be the country's best in community mobilisation in fighting crime, resulting in a drastic reduction of incidents of crime in the area.

By profession Thutoetsile  heads SADC's Open & Distance Learning project, over-seeing all the 15 member states.

Thutoetsile's crime prevention unit in Block 5 was last year voted the best in the whole country.

It is not by accident that when government decided to start the rollout of volunteer policing,  Block 5 cluster became the country's first location, along with the adjacent Block 6, to  receive government support and have satellite police stations established there.

For a cluster that manages to mobilise its neighbourhood to contribute funds and hire a security company to look after its residents' property during the long holidays, Thutoetsile's unit stands head and shoulders above the rest.

This year alone, the Block 5 crime prevention unit has come up with  a number of initiatives targeted at drastically bringing down incidents of crime in the area. Their Operation Dumela Moagisanye, rolled out at the beginning of the year encourages the Block 5 community to get to know one another even better, so that they are able to identify strangers who wander into the neighbourhood, possibly to steal property.

They are also in the process of developing a Bock 5 directory which will have information on who resides where in Block 5. "It would help us identify people easily and inform the police, should there be any problem. It will also go a long way in assisting our committee to collect annual subscriptions from households, so that over the long holidays we are able to hire a security company  to look after people's property", Thutoetsile tells Monitor.

He says it has now been five years since his Block 5 unit started hiring  horse back security companies to look after the residents' property. "In  fact we are the first cluster to be able to hire such a company, but now we want everyone to contribute towards this.

Traditionally various individuals and companies would pledge funds, but now we want every resident of Block 5 to contribute the annual subscription of P100, that should easily give us P150 000 or so", Thutoetsile explains.

The chairman is over the moon that last year his unit was able to drastically reduce incidents of house break-in, car-break-in, but says they they are more determined to ensure the level of crime reduces further.

In a week or two Thutoetsile will be joined by members of his committee to receive the prize for being the most efficient crime prevention cluster in the country.

On Thursday last week he celebrated the fruits of his cluster's efficiency when Block 5, along with neighbouring Block 6 were chosen as the first two clusters in the country to  have satellite police stations.

Grand Palm, which is also a member of both Block 5 and Block 6 clusters donated P200, 000 worth of porta cabins to be used by the two clusters to house the volunteer police officers who will be stationed there.

"Grand Palm has been exemplary. Two of their managers, the security manager, and their marketing manager serve in our cluster committee as well, because our crime prevention covers both residential and commercial operations", the chairman explains.


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