Nqobile Tshili Chronicle Correspondent
POLICE in Bulawayo have said about 69 of the 91 plain robberies that occurred in the city last month were committed by drivers of pirating Honda Fit vehicles.
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Plain robberies are crimes committed by persons without using dangerous weapons such as guns or knives to enforce the seizure of someone else’s property.
Bulawayo acting police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Abednico Ncube urged members of the public to avoid boarding pirate vehicles. He said the police have intensified a blitz on the unregistered cars.
In recent months, the city’s roads have seen a rise in pirate vehicles, a majority of them Honda Fits.
On Wednesday the police’s Bulawayo Traffic West unit impounded 45 vehicles mostly Honda Fit vehicles and arrested six drivers for various crimes.
He said by using Honda Fits members of the public were exposing themselves to dangerous crimes.
“These Honda Fit vehicles are linked to the commission of dangerous crimes of concern to us as police. They’re linked to robbery, rape and unlawful entry and theft cases happening in the city. Of the 91 robbery cases that were recorded in July, 75 percent have been linked to Honda Fit vehicle drivers,” he said.
Asst Insp Ncube said members of the public are robbed while being taken home by the Honda Fit drivers.
“They usually target the last person on the vehicle. Instead of dropping them at their intended destination they drive the client to some secluded place where they rob and dump them. It becomes difficult to trace their vehicles because most of them remove registration number plates,” said Asst Insp Ncube.
He said some of the drivers who conduct door to door deliveries, return to those premises to rob people.
“They conduct surveillance services in the pretext of door to door deliveries. After doing so they then inform their group who then go and break into those premises. We’re having many cases of unlawful entry being linked to Honda Fit vehicles.
“Members of the public are now target-softening instead of target-hardening, meaning they attract criminals through exposing their properties,” he said.
Asst Insp Ncube said Honda Fit drivers have become a menace in the city centre, especially along Robert Mugabe Way and 9th Avenue where they have made driving difficult for other motorists.
He said police will continue to rid the city’s public transport sector of unregistered operators.
“As police we’re mandated to uphold and safeguard members of the public. We’re concerned when members of the public are putting their lives at risk,” he said.
Asst Insp Ncube said concerted efforts are needed if police are to succeed in fighting crime.
He urged the public to report to the police any suspicious vehicles around their homes. — @nqotshili.