By Nqobile Tshili
Police in Bulawayo have identified six western suburbs as hotspots for burglary and theft cases while revealing that some of the break-in incidents are leading to rape cases.
Criminals are said to be targeting cash and electrical gadgets while women are sexually violated in the process.
Police said they arrested four suspects in the past week in connection with unlawful entry and theft.
Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube yesterday said while sporadic break-in and theft cases were being reported across Bulawayo, cases were more prevalent in the five suburbs.
“We are concerned with cases of unlawful entry and theft that are occurring in and around Bulawayo Province. Cases are happening in suburbs such as Cowdray Park, Magwegwe North, Pumula, Nkulumane, Emganwini and Makokoba. Even the eastern suburbs are not spared. The criminals are targeting cash and electrical gadgets but we have recorded some unfortunate and even worrying incidents where some cases are also leading to rape,” said Insp Ncube.
Insp Ncube did not provide statistics to show the prevalence of the burglary and theft cases.
He said police have arrested some of the culprits in the burglary cases.
“Last week we managed to arrest three people who had broken into a shop in Makokoba suburb and recoveries were made. We also arrested another suspect along the city-Bellevue road near Donnington Police Station where a suspect was driving a Honda Fit and upon searching his car, we recovered television sets that were stolen from the eastern suburbs,” he said as he urged the public to assist cops in weeding out criminals.
“We want to invite members of the public to report even their neighbours coming in with property. If you let such cases go unchecked tomorrow you might be the next victim.”
Insp Ncube said the criminals breaking into homes are also charged with violating lockdown regulations as most of the crimes are committed in the middle of the night.
He urged residents against letting strangers into their homes.
“We are appealing to the general members of the public to ensure that they switch off their internal lights as they retire for bed while switching on their outdoor lights. This makes it easy for them to spot criminals while trying to break into their homes. The other issue is they should be suspicious of the people they let into their homes,” said Insp Ncube.
“This includes people seeking for employment, or general visitors, extended family members, former employees and employees having full access of your house or knowing what happens in your home. Some of those people are the ones who work in cahoots with criminals because there is no one who just comes to break into a house without knowing what he or she is likely to benefit should the break-in succeed.”
Some residents have also expressed concern with how some of the burglars were accessing their homes.
“I really don’t know how they managed to break in, cut burglar bars without being heard. So, we suspect these people could have sprayed a chemical or something. They were even daring to the extent of stealing cellphones that were placed under pillows. They got away with Panasonic 55-inch television set,” read a message in a residents WhatsApp group in Pumula South.
After the message was posted, residents started sharing how the criminals have become a nuisance in the past few weeks.
Others said they managed to prevent the burglars from accessing their homes, while others narrated how the criminals had raided their homes, getting away with television sets, home theatre sets, decoders and cellphones. The Chronicle