A spate of armed robberies has hit Harare and surrounding areas, and police are warning residents to be on high alert.
Without giving figures, Harare provincial police spokesperson Inspector James Sabau said residential areas were hardest hit.
“There is growing concern over robberies taking place in residential areas, especially low-density areas, where criminals are usually armed with knives, spanners and other dangerous objects.
They are easily gaining access into homes and this is happening from around 7pm when it gets dark. They climb walls and gain access into homes.
The problem is most people’s houses would not be locked in the early hours and they get into the houses, produce knives and demand cash and valuables,” said Sabau.
He added other robbers waylay motorists who arrive home late and hoot. They then reportedly hold whoever opens the gate hostage and pounce on the family.
“Some come late. While they are hooting to be let in at the gate robbers hold hostage the gate opener,” he said.
Sabau added: “Some criminals knock on the doors at weird hours. An example is of an incident which occurred last night (Wednesday) January 25.
“A 56-year-old man from Highlands heard a knock at midnight and went to attend to it.
“As he opened the door one of the accused persons grabbed the complainant and dragged him into the house and the other accused forced themselves in and started beating the wife, asking the man to give them money.
That is when the man surrendered $3 250, jewellery and Nokia C63 cellphones and the accused escaped.”
He said people should be wary of visitors who call during the night especially if they were not expecting anyone.
“We are receiving these reports on a daily basis and we are also having cases of people being mugged on footpaths. We are saying people should be aware so that we have fewer robberies around the city,” Sabau said.