HARARE – Suburban crime, especially house burglaries, has hit the roof over the past few years as the Zimbabwean economy and the unacceptably high joblessness among the populace continue to worsen.
This has now prompted stretched police to call on members of the public to take stronger measures to secure their property and to purchase goods such as television sets from reputable shops to enable them to follow up cases more successfully in the event of theft.
Police spokesperson Paul Nyathi said yesterday that there was a worrying spate of burglaries in Harare’s residential areas by hardened criminals who were wreaking havoc as residents slept.
Although this trend had started in the capital, these unacceptable crimes were now spreading to other towns around the country.
He said the criminals were targeting valuables such television sets, telephones and satellite decoders, as well as essentials such as groceries and clothes.
As a result, the Zimbabwe Republic Police was appealing to the public for information which could lead to the arrest of the syndicates who were targeting certain residential areas in Harare and other parts of the country to commit the crimes.
Reports say some of the worst hit areas in Harare were suburbs such as Hillside, Cranborne and Braeside.
Residents and law enforcement agencies suspect that many of the criminals come from the Epworth area.
The criminals’ modus operandi is to pounce on house occupants while they are fast asleep.
Statistics indicate that crime in urban centres around the country has been on the increase in recent years.
Information released by police in September last year reveals that 1 876 juveniles and 918 adults were raped in the six months between January and July 2013, while 2 064 juveniles and 946 adults were raped during the same period in 2014.
On the other hand, ZRP Support Unit arrested 79 704 offenders in 2014 compared to 39 091 for the same period in 2013, translating to a 100 percent increase in arrests.