A Wave Of Violent Crimes Unsettles Bulawayo Residents
Bulawayo police have recorded several cases of violent muggings, theft and armed robbery over the past weeks. Image by Unsplash
Over the past weeks, cases of violent crimes have been awash in the mainstream media and on social media platforms, now residents and the police are intensifying partnerships to weed out the criminals.
BULAWAYO (The Citizen Bulletin) — BULAWAYO has been hit by a spate of violent crimes in recent weeks — including that of a gang that randomly went around Mabutweni suburb on separate days axing up to a dozen people, resulting in two fatalities.
Three of the suspects appeared at the Bulawayo Magistrates Court on May 20 following their arrest facing seven counts of attempted murder, two counts of robbery, two counts of murder and six counts of unlawful entry and theft.
On May 12, three female members of the same family aged 15, 19 and 21 were gang-raped and without protection when an armed gang raided their Rangemore home around 7 p.m, before getting away with US$10, 50rands and ZWL$180.
On May 22, a female employee at Liquor Supplies at Ascot Shopping Centre died when she was shot during an armed robbery, adding to the several cases of violent muggings, theft, armed robbery cases reported across Bulawayo by police.
Residents have been outraged by such episodes which some go unreported.
“These and many other criminal activities are really out of hand.”
Winos Dube, Bulawayo United Residents Association chairperson
Golden Sibanda, a father of three from Magwegwe high-density suburb adds: “No single day passes without reports of muggings, and burglary cases. The thieves have also been daring in committing the crimes.”
In response, police have launched stop and search patrols, night patrols and banned the carrying of weapons such as firearms, axes and machetes – weapons of choice for armed criminal gangs terrorising city residents, even during the day.
A number of residential areas such as Pumula have also revived neighbourhood watch committees (NWCs) in an effort to involve the public in policing issues in response to the high incidence of criminal acts.
Each household is contributing as little as 10rand towards incentivising the NWCs, The Citizen Bulletin established.
“That is a good move which communities are doing; we encourage communities to strengthen NWC’s everywhere. Incentivising them (NWC’s) is another way towards fighting the latest crime wave,” Dube says.
The NWC scheme was introduced in 1984.
The scheme targets property owners who join and assist to conduct night patrols in their respective areas.
It involves residents becoming more responsive to the risk of crime and taking action to protect their own and neighbours’ property.
According to police, such actions may include marking of property and reporting suspicious activity, patrolling neighbourhoods and improving home security which reduces the opportunity for crime and increases chances of detection.
“We urge members of the public to also report people with suspicious behaviour so as to ensure they are investigated by police.”
Abednico Ncube, Bulawayo ZRP provincial spokesperson
According to Ncube, a tip-off by members of the public led to the arrest of the Mabutweni’s axe-wielding gang members.
Residents and police partnerships aim to weed out the criminals in the city. Image by Unsplash
Ncube says police have recovered a lot of stolen properties in recent days through police-residents collaborations.
Ward 4 councillor Silas Chigora blames criminal activities on hunger and unemployment stalking many in the city.
“Life has become very difficult and people are resorting to unorthodox methods just to be able to survive but this is regrettable,” Chigora says.
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“We must be vigilant; we must be united as residents and ensure NWC’s are put in place everywhere if we are to win this fight against these criminal acts.”
As residents’ battle violent crime, questions are being asked by the Bulawayo community leadership “what has happened with our people,” the BURA chairperson adds.
“As community leaders, we are equally worried and surprised by all these criminal activities. We are asking ourselves questions about what has happened with our people.”
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Neighbourhood watch committees, Bulawayo United Residents Association, Violent crimes, Bulawayo
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