ARMED robbers have in recent months terrorised residents and the business community in Bulawayo.
A number of businesses and individuals have fallen victim to armed robbers, who seem to be targeting those handling large amounts of foreign currency, and a number of lives have also been lost in the process.
Last week, police in Bulawayo reacted swiftly to stop armed robbers on two occasions on their tracks. National police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the robbers were Zimbabweans based in South Africa who would come into the country to commit crimes and then go back to their hideout across the border. Last Saturday, a six-man gang was ambushed by the police in Bulawayo while on a mission to commit a robbery at a Fourwinds suburb house, leading to a shootout that has left three suspects dead. A few days later, police also foiled a robbery in Luveve, where robbers had targeted a local dealer. Unfortunately, one police officer lost his life while in the line of duty.
Assistant Commissioner Nyathi said police had put in place strategies to stop armed robberies in the city and across the country, and those plans were now bearing fruit. He said police were working with residents, business community and private security companies. Residents at Fourwinds suburb told Sunday News that they had been warned before that there were suspicious characters in the neighbourhood.
“On Friday night, we had been told in the residents’ WhatsApp group by local police that there are suspicious cars moving about so we were on high alert. At about 6am we started hearing gunshots and the battle seemed to last for a long time. Later on, my dogs started barking and I could tell that there was suspicious movement so I went to peep outside. I was shocked to see a man with a gun right next to our house,” the resident said.
The owner of the house where the robbery was to happen, who spoke to Sunday News anonymously, said the heist was foiled largely due to the work of law enforcement officers, who had warned that they had received intelligence that the house was a potential robbery target. It is believed that the owner of the house is into the mining business.
“I cannot say much right now until the police have spoken but all I can say is that one of the robbers was killed here.
All in all, there were six of them. They got in here at around 6am. We knew something like this might happen because we received intelligence that we could be hit by armed robbers soon and it happened just as they said,” he said.
The gang was been identified as behind a number of armed robbery cases in the city, that include a cash-in-transit heist at Choppies Supermarket in Parklands, and a robbery of a bureau de change in the city centre.
We urge communities to continue working with police to curb crime, as that is a winning strategy the world over.
This form of policing conforms to the ideal of a “multi-agency approach” whereby the police, the public, elected officials, government and other agencies work in partnership to address crime and community safety. Increasingly, comparative experiences suggest that the approach of incorporating a professional police service and a responsible public seems to be the most effective and fruitful way to create a safer environment.
The partnership approach to policing emphasises that relations between the police and public should be consultative, and extend into the process of planning. Furthermore, the community and its leaders must be involved in determining the policing needs of the locale, the style of police work that would be effective and appropriate, as well as desirable or undesirable forms of police intervention, according to the Institute for Security Studies.
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