Andrew Kathindi

Theft and traffic fines top criminal offenses committed countrywide since last March, the Namibian Correctional Service (NCS) has revealed.

Altogether 524 theft offences were committed by inmates admitted into correctional facilities from March 2020- January 2021, while 345 traffic offenses were committed during the period under review.

“It is interesting to note that theft (which is classified as an economic offence) was the most common offence with 524 offenders incarcerated for that offence,” Commissioner Meunajo Tjiroze, Directorate Reintegration in the NCS told Windhoek Observer.

She added, “The second most occurring offence is stock theft (which is classified as an economic offence) at 348 offenders incarcerated during the period of the pandemic’s out-break in Namibia.”

In comparison to figures over the last ten months, theft was noted to have been an offence committed by 903 offenders incarcerated during the period of March 2019 to March 2020, which represents an over-all reduction in this type of offence of 42 percent.

“Statistics show that from March 2020 to date, there have been a total of 2981 offenders who were admitted into correctional facilities across Namibia. The aforementioned is a significant drop from the 5064 offenders who were admitted between March 2019 and March 2020.”

Other offenses committed on a larger scale since the first lockdown due to COVID-19 last year, was assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm with 272 arrests, house breaking with intent to steal with 291 arrests and possession of drugs with 242.

Serious offences such as murder and rape remained disturbingly high with 99 and 79 offences respectively.

“The Namibian Correctional Service also recognises the fact that the statistics show that offenders admitted to its’ correctional facilities for serious offences including murder, domestic violence and rape have remained relatively unchanged. This is a serious concern and members of the community are urged to work along-side law-enforcement to ensure prevention and reporting of such serious offences.”

This comes as 2291 offenders were released from prisons over the last 12 months.

From January 2020 to January 2021, 557 offenders were released following the end of their sentence terms, after serving their full sentences. A total of 291 offenders were released on full parole and 1443 offenders were released on remission.

“Since the inception of the new Community Supervision framework, 7 717 offenders have been released conditionally, and out of those offenders only 223 offenders re-offended, which represents 2.9 percent of offenders released conditionally. This is indicative of the effectiveness of the measures which the Namibian Correctional Service has put into place to ensure better reintegration outcomes and maintain low re-offending rates,” Tjiroze said.