THE Namibian society has such a high rate of crimes of theft of mobile phones and robberies where criminals grab people’s cellphones and run away.

On the streets of Namibia criminals simply snatch people’s phones and run away. The criminal may go and sell the phone to someone else for peanuts whereby the phone’s password or security pattern will simply be broken out by technology experts. Before long the phone would be back on the network of either MTC or TN Mobile using a different SIM card.

“It is such a shameful thing for a country to have a high crime rate of mobile phones theft or robbery of phones,” says Maria Gideon, a member of the community in Okuryangava. “As a lady I never feel safe at all walking down the street with a smart phone in my hand. Even during the day I am just cautious and scared that someone will grab my phone and run away.”

“Some people say that a smart phone can be traced or it can be blocked by MTC so that nobody will ever be able to use it. I don’t know if it is true. But if it is true why then are the police and MTC never seem to work together to bring an end to the theft of phones.

“Who will steal or snatch a phone or buy a stolen phone if you know that you won’t be able to use it? If maybe some stolen phones become impossible to trace, still MTC can say ‘This phone of this serial number was reported as stolen, so we can’t allow it to operate on our network. We block it.’ That will be the end of the story for criminals who make a living from stealing or grabbing phones. With the technology at their disposal it just shows lack of commitment by both MTC and the police, otherwise no cellphone will ever be stolen again in this country.”

When contacted for comment MTC’s corporate communications officer Mr John Ekongo referred Omutumwa to the police as the right authority to answer questions of whether it is possible to trace stolen mobile phones.

Chief Inspector Kaunapawa Shikwambi of the Namibian Police’s media and public relations division replied to an email of Omutumwa by saying: “Please be informed that one of the Namibian Police Force’s functions is to investigate offences and or alleged offences; and every case or incident reported to the Police Force is regarded serious and receives the attention it deserves and based on its merit.

“Investigation of cellphones is no exception, particularly after a case of Theft / Robbery is registered at the Police Station.  Therefore, be informed that the Namibian Police Force does trace cellphones; we have done it in the past and still continues.

“The public is however encouraged to take care and protect their valuables, moreover, if affordable take out insurances to cover their valuables in case of losses.”

Caption: Chief Inspector Kaunapawa Shikwambi