November 15, 2013 Obert Chifamba Local News
COMMENT - Harare, a city of 1,606,000, has 51 homicides a year? Let's compare and contrast:
Sydney, AU: 43 (2011), population 4,627,345
Houston, TX: 198 (2011), population 2,160,821
FIFTY-ONE people were killed in Harare during the last 10 months with most of the cases being victims of domestic violence and armed robberies. According to police statistics, 50 people were murdered in the city during the same period last year. Harare provincial police spokesperson Inspector Tadius Chibanda yesterday said some people were killed by robbers after they tried to resist.
“Most of the cases were also over domestic disputes while others were drivers of pirate taxis who were attacked and killed after resisting the criminals,” he said.
He said others were also killed and robbed while walking alone in secluded areas during the night.
Insp Chibanda said armed robbery cases were on the decrease with 118 cases recorded so far as compared to 142 cases, between January and October last year.
He said the reduction was as a result of the arrests made this year of some of the criminals who were on police’s most wanted list.
He expressed concern over an increase in cases of plain robberies in and around the city.
So far a total of 2 656 cases have been recorded as compared to 2 244 last year.
Armed robberies involve the use of firearms or weapons, while plain robberies are cases where people are robbed without the use of firearms.
“Plain robberies are on the increase as a result of people who are now shunning the use of commuter omnibuses and resorting to the use of private vehicles and end up being robbed,” Insp Chibanda said.
He said some of the victims were also waylaid while coming from nightclubs and others in secluded areas.
Insp Chibanda said they would continue carrying out crime awareness campaigns in and around the city.
He urged the people to be wary of these criminals who were using the same modus operandi to attack their victims.
“Starting from tomorrow (today), November 15, we will be conducting crime awareness campaigns in the province and other residential areas.
“We will be conducting the campaigns at shopping centres, pick-up points and various other places,” Insp Chibanda said.
He said they would also conduct an operation targeting criminals in and around the city.
Early this month, a 31-year-old taxi driver was found hanging from a tree along the Harare-Bulawayo Road in Kuwadzana, Harare.
Portifa Mutera of Dzivaresekwa was suspected to have been strangled using a cord made from strands of sack fibre before being hanged on a fig tree.
Between January and June police recorded 100 215 cases of major crimes, a 2 percent decline compared to 102 288 cases during the same period last year, with a significant reduction in murder and armed robberies.
Speaking during a pass-out parade for 542 graduates at Ntabazinduna Police Training Depot in September, Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri said during the first half of the year they recorded a 7 percent decrease in murder cases, while armed robberies went down by 31 percent.
At least 3 499 people were kidnapped and robbed by pirate taxi drivers countrywide in the first half of this year, while 284 others fell prey to armed robbers.
The situation was more critical in Harare where at least 1 200 cases of kidnap and robbery by pirate taxi drivers were recorded in the past four months alone, with most of the victims being offered lifts in and around the city.
The figures are high but reflect a 5 percent decrease compared to the same period last year when 4 108 cases were recorded.