Beitbridge town has witnessed a sharp increase of armed robbery cases in the past few weeks. In the past two weeks alone, the border town recorded six cases of armed robbery and the latest robbery was last Tuesday when seven robbers killed a taxi driver before driving away in his vehicle.
After killing the taxi driver, Mr Cliff Chioza, the gang attacked and robbed Mr Rabson Sibanda of R30 000 at his house. Beitbridge residents said they are now living in fear as a result of upsurge in cases of violent crimes.
They appealed to the police to increase patrols especially in crime hotspots in the western suburbs where armed robbers are targeting taxi drivers and illegal money changers. The upsurge in cases of armed robbery has also been witnessed in other cities and towns during the past few months and this is very worrying.
The police need to come up with new counter strategies to fight this scourge which is disturbing peace and in some cases claiming lives. The police said recently that they are disturbed by the increase in armed robbery cases involving the use of firearms.
National police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said a few months ago that police were worried by the upsurge in armed robberies countrywide. She said the robbers were after money hence they were targeting places where they suspected large sums of money were kept.
Snr Asst Comm Charamba urged members of the public not to keep large amounts of money at their business premises or homes as doing so puts their lives at risk. Most of the robbers are armed with guns, a confirmation that there are many guns in wrong hands.
The police and members of the public should therefore work together to rid society of these undesirable elements. What is very disturbing is that some of the armed gangs are killing their victims as what happened in Beitbridge last Tuesday.
Police, as already alluded to, need to come up with counter- strategies to fight these armed gangs. Members of the public on their part should provide police with information because these robbers stay in the communities and come from families. We have said it before that those that provide a haven for criminals are accomplices in crime.
Most of the guns being used to commit crime are smuggled into the country from neighbouring South Africa. Guns sold in this country can be accounted for because of the strict rules and regulations controlling the selling of fire arms.
We want to once again implore members of the public to work closely with the police to fight crime including armed robbery. Criminals can only be flushed out of their hiding if members of the public alert the police.