Bulawayo Police concerned about crime upsurge in city
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This comes amid reports that there is an upsurge of criminal cases in the city.
Representatives of the business community, police and other stakeholders held a crime consultative meeting for Bulawayo District at a city hotel yesterday where the police said they were incapacitated to monitor and fight crime without the involvement of the community.
Bulawayo businessman Professor Denash Giga chaired the meeting which was addressed by the officer-in-charge of Bulawayo Central Police Station, Chief Inspector Dan Rangwani and the Bulawayo District community relations liaison officer Assistant Inspector Farai Wutawashe.
Reports from the police homicide, residential and drugs sections showed that cases of armed robbery, plain robbery, unlawful entry and theft and drug peddling were prevalent in Bulawayo.
Four cases of armed robbery, 15 unlawful entry and 71 cases of drug abuse were recorded in July alone.
Police said the statistics were worrying.
Chief Insp Rangwani said the operational relationship between the police and the community should be that of fish and water.
"The purpose of this meeting is to consult on how best we can assist each other in the fight against crime. As police, we are employed and mandated by you the State to bring peace and as such, we should co-exist like fish and water. We also have challenges like transport to attend to every crime scene hence the need to work together," said Chief Insp Rangwani.
"Police cannot do this alone, we need community assistance because it is not possible to deploy a police officer on every street corner. Right now, we have a single vehicle as a station and we appeal to you to take this matter seriously."
The officer-in-charge challenged the city council to repair street lights as criminals now had a haven in dark places.
He expressed concern over the high number of vagrants between the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair grounds and Paddonhurst suburb.
Asst Insp Wutawashe said police could not fight crime alone.
"Crime affects members of the community than it does the police force but there is no way the police can carry out certain operations without involvement of the community. For us to successfully fight crime, we need to get information from members of the community," said Asst Insp Wutawashe.
He urged residents of Bulawayo to revise security trends at their premises as criminals had become sophisticated.
"It is a dangerous trend to over-trust our workers both at home and workplaces because investigations have shown that criminals use the same modus operandi. We now have intelligent criminals in Zimbabwe and we need to re-look into our trends of fighting crime," said Asst Insp Wutawashe.
Members of the community are expected to help by joining Neighbourhood Watch Committees and providing information to the police about criminal activity in their communities.
Detective Assistant Inspector Tirivamwe Matsika from the Criminal Investigations Department Homicide Section said three of the four cases of armed robbery recorded last month occurred in the city centre, where the suspects targeted money changers.
A representative of the banking sector encouraged businesspeople and individuals to open bank accounts to avoid keeping large sums of money at their premises as that lured criminals.
The supermarket sector said cases of shoplifting had declined significantly mainly due to technological advances like CCTV and the main challenge now was theft orchestrated from within the shops in connivance with outside criminals.
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