Marvelous Moyo , Gwanda Correspondent
THE crime rate in Matabeleland South Province went up by six percent between January and October this year.
Officially launching the Zimbabwe Republic Police Client Service Charter at Phakama Business Centre in Gwanda Town yesterday, the Officer Commanding Matabeleland South, Senior Assistant Commissioner Learn Ncube, said although criminal activities in some areas went down, the province had so far this year recorded a six percent increase in crime compared to the same period last year.
“Our province has not been performing well in terms of crime where we’ve continuously recorded an increase in prevalent crimes that include among others stocktheft, unlawful entry, theft, assault, robbery, rape and murder. From January 2015 to October 2015, the province recorded a total of 8,344 cases compared to a total of 7,847 cases recorded in the same period in 2014,” said Snr Asst Comm Ncube.
Gwanda District recorded the most stocktheft, rape involving juveniles, unlawful entry and theft cases.
There was an 18 percent increase in stocktheft cases: 414 cases were recorded last year compared to the 489 cases recorded this year.
Unlawful entry cases increased by 24 percent, with 635 cases recorded this year compared to the 512 cases in 2014 during the same period.
The province recorded a worrisome figure in rape cases involving juveniles.
“Similarly, in 2014, rape cases of juveniles stood at 44 as compared to 104 cases in 2015 showing a +136 percent increase which is glaringly worrisome,” said Snr Asst Comm Ncube.
He said drinking spots had been turned into hot spots for criminal activities especially assault, theft and robbery.
However, the province has recorded some success stories in fighting certain crimes, including murder which went down to 26 cases this year from 40 last year.
“May I hasten to mention that the province has scored success in reducing cases of plain robbery, murder and theft. The province has so far recorded 158 cases of plain robbery compared to the 243 cases recorded between January and October last year. This translates to a 35 percent reduction,” said Snr Asst Comm Ncube.
There was also a five percent reduction in theft cases with 1,139 cases recorded, down from the 1,205 cases of last year.
Snr Asst Comm Ncube commended members of the Neighbourhood Watch Committee for being at the heart of reducing crime in the province.
He said the launch of the ZRP Client Service Charter came at a time when the festive season was approaching.
Snr Asst Comm Ncube encouraged the commuting public to make use of registered public service vehicles while transport operators were also encouraged to comply with traffic regulations.
Speaking at the same occasion, the chairperson of the Provincial Crime Consultative Committee, Obed Malani Sibanda, bemoaned the increase in stocktheft cases saying it was “a thorny area causing sleepless nights.”
“Our province is dirty when it comes to stocktheft. We cannot afford as a province to be a thorn in the flesh in this country, we will work tirelessly to get rid of the crime,” he said.
Gwanda Town deputy mayor Councillor Albert Ndlovu encouraged members of the public to be “friends of the police” to fight for a crime free society.
“Police are there to serve us, to protect us, so let’s not fear them but make them our friends,” he said.
The business community and members of the public also commended the police for showing commitment in providing services.
Also present at the event was the provincial administrator Midard Khumalo, Provincial Development Committee members, traditional leaders and school children.