Luveve residents in Bulawayo have come up with a whistle alert system as part of the efforts to alert one another when attacked by robbers at night and curb rampant crime in the area.
The residents bemoaned the rampant robbery cases targeting newly installed water tapes and household property.
Speaking during the Fix My City programme hosted by the Centre for Innovation and Technology (CITE), Discent Collins Bajila, who donated whistles to the community, said they want people to alert one another when they suspect thieves could be in the area.
“There is a challenge of house break-ins, theft has now become a very popular thing; you wake up in the morning you get into community WhatsApp groups, there is a report that we lost our water tapes, they were taken by thieves overnight. We attended another case. One family keeps rabbits and in the morning some of their rabbits were stolen, so much theft is happening in this place and we want to flush it out,” said Bajila.
He said if one suspects there could be intruders outside they can whistle and the neighbours can join in the whistling as they come to assist.
He said they organised 1 900 whistles for Luveve suburb and hoped to extend the programme to other suburbs as well.
“The reception is quite fantastic; people are happy; some residents are saying this is what they have been waiting for,” said Bajila.
He added: “We understand why people are here, issues of unemployment, the effect of Covid-19 pandemic, the challenges are there in each community but we are saying those who face those challenges should not respond in a criminal manner.”
Bajila said they also distributed flyers on how the whistles are going to work.
“Let us make sure that whistles do not find themselves in the hands of children, they should find themselves in the hands of responsible people and if you whistle, there must be something that you are alerting the next person on, so during the day whistles can be doing everything, people can be playing their soccer, they can play whatever games that they want to do with whistles but in the evening after 7-8 let whistles be in the hands of adults,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mhlomuli Mathobela, a resident, said they welcomed the whistle alert system.
“We have rampant crime in Luveve, as you know that our police have no resources it becomes difficult for them to attend to our reports, so now having these whistles will assist us a long way in calling the neighbours when thieves attack your home at night,” said Mathobela.
“We think this is going to assist us, I don’t know what else can help us on top of this so that we are armed to curb crime and defend ourselves as residents.”
Another resident, Ishmael Mkandla said residents have lost a lot of their valuables such as car batteries, tapes, window frames, and car tyres.
“Residents have tried other means such as having neighbourhood watch committees, in some sections the system is working but in other sections it is not. People are even failing to contribute funds to assist those who are patrolling but all those efforts died a natural death because people do not have money to pay,” said Mkandla.