POLICE in Harare have urged the public to secure their properties because armed robbery and housebreaking cases increase during the festive season. Travellers were also warned against using private transport as some of the motorists were criminals.
Last Friday, 45 police officers from Harare, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East and Mashonaland West provinces conducted crime awareness campaigns along the country's major roads.
Harare provincial police spokesperson Inspector Tadius Chibanda said the campaigns were held at Westgate, Greencroft, Fourth Street bus terminus, along Second Street Extension, Samora Machel Avenue and at a bus stop along Simon Mazorodze Road, popularly know as Kumbudzi.
"We were targeting people who usually use private vehicles for transport that they risk being robbed. We were talking to them and urging them to use public transport," he said.
He said criminals targetted travellers they offered lifts before robbing them.
Insp Chibanda said such cases, including housebreaking and theft, increase during festive season period.
He said police suspected that criminals were using new methods of operation.
"Some people also risk being killed if they resist these criminals and as police we will remain on high alert to ensure that some of these culprits are brought to book," Insp Chibanda said.
On housebreaking, Insp Chibanda urged the public to ensure that they put adequate security measures to ensure that their properties are protected.
In July, police said some ex-convicts released from prisons countrywide recently were believed to be behind some of the armed robberies being committed.
Police said they believed some of these criminals were working as syndicates.He said some of them were operating in groups ranging between five and nine and were targeting homes and pedestrians.
In March this year, about 89 hardcore criminals released from Harare jails were believed to be committing armed robberies and carjackings.
Police said the criminals were released between January and February this year.
They were from Harare Remand and Chikurubi Prisons only.
When released, criminals leave their addresses to prison officials so that they make follow up visits to check whether they are committing crimes or not.
Of the 89 released, 53 are not staying at given addresses and are believed to be staying at hideouts and safehouses.