Police in Gerald Estates, Francistown, were this week battling a rising problem of vandalism of unoccupied Botswana Housing Corporation (BHC) houses in that area.
Assistant Superintendent at Gerald Estates Police Station, Ontiretse Ditsweu, told the Sunday Standard that the culprits vandalise the property, stealing items like power supply boxes, water pipes and water geysers.
“We are working around the clock to try and arrest these criminals,” he said. “The situation is becoming a serious concern.”
Ditsweu said the problem is worsened by the low tenancy rate in BHC houses in Gerald Estates, which is attracting vandals who roam the area in search of vacant houses to loot.
He expressed hope that strong police cooperation with Gerald Estates residents and anti-crime volunteers would help curb the problem.
“I strongly believe that through our cooperation with residents and volunteers the crime volunteers we can arrest the culprits,” Ditsweu said. “All we need is a strong team.”
Meanwhile touching on other criminal activities be-devilling Gerald Estates, Ditsweu said the rate of break-ins, burglary and theft had reduced compared to previous years.
Although unable to produce statistics, he maintained that the police have been working tirelessly with crime volunteers and the public to reduce crime.
“In the past years we had a problem of burglary, breakings and theft in the whole location but the crime has since declined. We also had a problem with culprits who vandalized and stole Botswana Power Corporation copper cables but I am happy to say that we have managed to curb the problem as we are working closely with scrap yard owners, where the culprits used to sell these cables,” he said.
Reacting to the issue of vandalism of BHC property, Olefile Segoko, the BHC senior estates manager for the north region could neither confirm nor deny that the problem was rising.
Pushed for a comment, he pleaded for ample time to get updates on the situation of their property in Gerald Estates as “I have been busy in Gaborone with meetings”.