There appears to have been a major increase in crime, including violent crime, in Harare, judging by reports received by Safeguard Security from its customers and other sources.
In an update to customers, Safeguard said that the number of incidents of theft or attempted theft or robbery in Harare reported to it in February was almost double that for the same period last year.
“Outside of the fact that the number of incidents has doubled, a concern is the increase in the number of more potentially violent crimes being reported generally,” the update said.
Although Safeguard emphasised that these were only the incidents that had come to its notice, it seems likely that the upsurge in such incidents reported to Safeguard reflects a general increase in thefts and robberies in the capital city.
The update attributed the increase in the number of incidents chiefly to crime targeting retailers in the Harare city area and a “rash of incidents in Southerton”.
“Other areas that stand out include numerous reports of theft from motor vehicles as well as theft of gate motors – five in one night in Emerald Hill,” the update said.
Potentially violent crime was not limited to Harare. Armed home intrusions or robberies were recorded in Marondera and Gweru, as well as in the Harare suburbs of Emerald Hill, Mount Pleasant, Milton Park, and Greendale.
There were also two attacks on women out walking in the afternoon in Mount Pleasant and Emerald Hill.
“These are not good signs and sadly there seems to be little hope of any immediate solution to these types of crimes in the current environment,” the Safeguard update said.
“Give your security serious thought. Review security at home and work. Be more cautious when away from home. Don’t hold or carry cash if at all possible and make use of your security systems,” the update said.
In most of the break-in incidents recorded by Safeguard in February intruders fled from the scene, often empty handed, after the alarm went off. However, there were some incidents where an alarm system was installed but had not been armed or where there was no alarm coverage in the area where the theft occurred.
Safeguard reminded its rapid response customers that they can download the Safeguard SOS app so that if they find themselves in difficulties when away from home, they can obtain assistance.
The app uses Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking technology to pinpoint their location if they press the security panic button, medical emergency button or roadside assistance button.
Safeguard phones the customer who has pressed the security or roadside assistance button and renders appropriate assistance.
The medical emergency button is responded to in Harare by Ace Air and Ambulance which provides ambulance services to Safeguard rapid response customers who press this button in a medical emergency at their alarmed premises.