Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
THE crime rate has increased by 33 percent since January last year in the Midlands province, an increase that has been attributed to an influx of artisanal miners who engage in violent crimes in search of precious minerals.
Addressing the business community and residents during the launch of the Police Provincial Client Service Charter and Midlands Cop of the year awards ceremony at ZRP Zvishavane Camp, the Officer Commanding Midlands Province Commissioner Moses Magandi said there is need for the police and stakeholders to work together to curb crime.Comm Magandi said police have stepped up efforts to ensure that the crime rate is kept under control.
“Our crime analysis indicates that general crime increased by 33 percent during the period extending from January to September 2019 as compared to the same period last year. A total of 3 709 cases were received in 2019 as compared to 2 789 received during the same period in 2018. The increase in crime may be attributed to the influx of artisanal miners from some parts of the country who come into our area searching for precious stones since we are blessed with mineral deposits in the province,” he said.
Comm Magandi said Zvishavane and Mberengwa Districts were hard hit by crimes that include unlawful entry and theft, assaults, theft, stock theft, rape and plain robbery.
“We have enhanced foot and mobile police patrols in urban set ups and general patrols in rural areas. Allow me to take this opportunity to advise members of the public not to move around with large sums of cash as robbery cases are also on the increase mostly in urban areas.
“Motorists must avoid picking unknown passengers along highways. Also avoid walking in unlit streets and secluded areas in both urban and rural areas,” he said.
“Let us work together to reduce unlawful entry and theft cases which are on the increase. Most of these cases occurred in both low and high density residential areas and industrial areas with criminals targeting cash, cellphones, laptops, electrical gadgets and other valuables.”
Comm Magandi urged people to make sure that their windows are always closed during the night even when temperatures are high. He said farmers must always ensure that livestock is rounded up for penning daily.
“In our quest to fight crime, we also introduced community policing initiatives such as business against crime, crime consultative committee, anti-stock theft committee, neighbourhood watch committee, and victim friendly unit. These community policing initiatives remain key and strategic in the fight against crime,” said Comm Magandi.