Namibia is situated in sub-Saharan Africa, a region that has some of the highest crime rates in the world. This situation is caused by poverty, a low level of development, and enormous social and economic disadvantages.
Crimes reported in Namibia amounted to 96,200 in the financial year March 2008–February 2009, in 2009/10 to 98,671, and in 2010/11 to 90,675. More than two fifths of all reported crimes occur in the capital Windhoek, where the majority of reported crimes are burglaries, robberies, and assaults.
Organised crime across all of Southern Africa probably only developed in the 1980s. While the thousands of kilometers of unsecured borders are often believed to be responsible for enabling cross-border crime, “research has shown that criminals prefer legal border points”. Organised crime in Namibia is active mainly in the transporting of drugs and the hiring of drug mules, as well in laundering of money through investments in real estate and luxury assets.
Types of crime
Namibia has a high rate of domestic violence, particularly against women and children. Rape and murder cases are frequent. The number of rape cases reported annually was estimated to be between 700 and 1,600 in 2010, and domestic violence is primarily done by men against women. A report on the period from 2012 to 2015 counted roughly 40,000 assault cases, 2 839 rape cases, 1 138 attempted murders and 734 murders while pointing out that a large number of cases remain unreported.
There are a number of non-profit organisations to counter gender-based violence but the problem is perceived to become worse. Former President Hifikepunye Pohamba suggested in 2014 that 6 March should become a national prayer day, a measure that has received criticism for undermining the secular organisation of the state.
There are a number of cases every year where newborn babies are dumped in river beds, in rubbish-bins and in dams. According to the report published by the parliamentary standing committee on human resources, social and community development, from 2003 to 2007, baby dumping rose from 6 to 23 cases per year, a 283 percent rise. Most of these cases of concealment of birth go unreported; Windhoek Water Works alone reported in 2008 that they discover 13 dead newborns in their waste water system per month.
Money laundering is legislated by the Financial Intelligence Act and controlled by the Financial Intelligence Centre. The Centre reported a significant increase in suspicious transactions in 2011, but already in 2003 the United Nations described the situation as “critical”.
Namibia has experienced at least one serial killings event when between 2005 and 2007 the B1 Butcher killed and dismembered five women and deposited body parts along Namibia’s National Road B1. The identity of the B1 Butcher was never conclusively determined.