POLICE in Bulawayo are worried about a rise in robbery and rape cases.
The worrying trend has been linked to pirate taxis who ply different routes in the city. Illegal taxis, mostly Honda Fit vehicles have continued to dominate local public transport due to their flexibility.
Frantic efforts by commuter operators in conjunction with the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) to push out pirate taxis have hit a brick wall.
According to police, pirate taxis contribute to robbery and rape cases usually after 8pm when most commuter operators and buses would have knocked off.
During her presentation at a gender-based violence workshop last week on Friday, Assistant Inspector Auxillia Sibanda from ZRP Victim Friendly Unit said many rape victims were raped inside pirate taxis.
“We have received several cases of women who have been raped inside Honda Fit vehicles. Most of the rape cases are committed by strangers or drivers of these pirated Honda Fits in areas such as Richmond.
“As the ZRP we urge women to use public registered motor vehicles or board private cars that they know the driver so as to reduce chances of them being raped,” said Ass Insp Sibanda.
Police have in the past warned members of the public against boarding pirate vehicles most of which are always without number plates. This also saw the law enforcers embarking on operations to weed out the unregistered pirate taxis but unfortunately on the ground it seems it has done little to push them out of business as the vehicles are increasing with each passing day.
Meanwhile, Sibanda singled out a crime hot spot near the United College of Education (UCE) along the Victoria Falls road which she said was now a cause for concern.
“A lot of people use the bush as a shortcut and I don’t know why. That bush near UCE is a dangerous area and people should avoid going there.
“People like to go for picnics at that bush, sadly those people are either robbed or raped,” Sibanda said.