BY STEPHEN CHADENGA
THE spike in crime in the Midlands province could be attributed to the influx of artisanal miners who frequently visit the area searching for minerals, provincial police boss Moses Magandi has said.
Speaking in Zvishavane at the launch of the Police Provincial Client Service Charter last week, Magandi said between January and September this year, the province recorded a 33% increase in crime compared to the same period last year.
“Our crime analysis indicates that general crime increased by 33% during the period extending from January to September 2019 when compared to the same period last year,” he said.
“A total of 3 709 cases were received in 2019 compared to 2 789 received during the same period in 2018. The increase in crime may be attributed to the influx of artisanal miners from some parts of the country who come into our area searching for precious stones since we are blessed with mineral deposits in the province.”
Magandi singled out Zvishavane and Mberengwa districts as being hard hit by crimes that include unlawful entry, theft, assault, stocktheft, rape and plain robbery.
He said police in the province have beefed up foot and mobile patrols in urban areas as well as general patrols in rural areas.
The police boss urged members of the community to work closely with law enforcement agents to curb crime in the province.
In recent months, the Midlands capital, Gweru, has recorded an increasing number of people, particularly taxi drivers, being robbed of their vehicles.
In December last year, a taxi driver from the city was allegedly kidnapped, robbed and killed in cold blood before his body was dumped in a dam with his hands and legs tied.
Reports have singled out artisanal miners as the chief perpetrators in most of the cases.