Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Crime rate drops in commercial city, Bt

Malawi Inspector General of Police Peter Mukhitho reported to be doing a good job in making sure that Malawi is safe and secure. Pic exclusively by Malawi Digest.

By Samantha Chipiliro Jere

There has been a drop in the number of criminal cases from January to June this year in areas surrounding the commercial city, Blantyre, according to an analysis report.

A Blantyre Police Station Bi-Annual Analysis Report on crime management, community police, traffic management and working resources shows that there have been fewer criminal cases for the period January-June 2009, compared to the same period last year, representing an 8 per cent drop.

The report reflects on how the station has performed, particularly in implementing its operational plan by carrying out main goals of fighting crime and reducing accidents on the roads of Blantyre.

Blantyre Police Station deputy Public Relations Officer, Lameck Thembachako, said intensive patrols and community policing are the major contributing factors to the decrease of crime in the city.

“We work in three shifts, going on foot, in some areas where roads are impassable by car. By doing that, we are able to trace criminals,” says Thembachako.

During the period understudy, the station registered 6,517 criminal cases, compared to 7, 048 cases during the same period the previous year. The change difference indicates a decrease of 46 per cent.

This year from January to June, Blantyre Police Station recorded 531 fewer cases than last year during the same period, representing a drop of 8 per cent. There is also a big decrease in statutory cases by 669, representing 46 per cent.

Blantyre Police Station covers a policing area of 228 square kilometers with four Traditional Authorities namely, Kuntaja, Kapeni, Somba, and Machinjiri. It has four sub- stations and six police units: Ndirande, Soche, Milare, Chilomoni, South Lunzu, Chirimba, Chilobwe, Kabula, Sigerege and Mpemba.

The station also has two listening units at City Centre and Ginnery Conner. Further developments are underway involving the construction of Nancholi Police Unit, according to the report.

Blantyre Police Station at present has 625 police officers, of whom 333 are at the parent station, 165 in sub- stations and 127 in police units. The total strength gives a proportional ratio of one officer policing 1,500 against a population of 1,000,000 residences in the policing area.

The analysis report shows that Chirimba, Naperi side, Chilobwe, Mthukwa, Namiwawa, Manase, Machinjiri area 10, Magalasi, Malabada, and part of Nyambadwe are some of the areas prone to crime, which commonly occurs between 2200 hours and 0300 hours.

There were 522 robbery cases that were reported during the period under study as compared to 616 similar cases registered in 2008 in the same period under review.

“This represents an exceptional decrease of robbery cases by 15.7 per cent. Statistics further indicate that Blantyre City Centre, Mbayani and Ndirande are some of the prone areas.

“Most of these robberies occurred between 1700 hours and 2000 hours and victims of these acts are manly deprived of their property at a gun or knife point,” the report says.

On sexual offences, the station registered 50 during the period under study, compared to 49 in 2008, representing an increase of only two per cent. However, defilement and sodomy cases decreased.

The report also indicates that six vehicles were stolen during the period understudy and the same number the previous year. However, four vehicles were recovered during the period under review as compared to two in 2008.

Sub-Inspector Jeremiah Mwakayoka of the station’s Research and Planning Unit, said analysis of crime rate was done annually. He said during months like January and February, crime rates go up due to hunger, while in December the rate increases because of entertainment activities.

“Towards these months, we warn the general public to be careful to avoid accidents and thieves,” he said.

Mwakayoka said that community-based policing continued to discharge its responsibilities of formulation of crime prevention strategies and undertaking activities that engage community participation, crime awareness and prevention.

“We work hand in hand with the community. They inform us about suspicious people or business. We train traditional leaders to teach their people how to report cases,” he said.

There were more traffic offences during the period under study as compared to the same segment of 2008. Drink and drive is one of the main causes of road accidents in areas under Blantyre Police Station.

The report says during the period under study, the neighborhood watch scheme was operational and that more than 40 working groups were working day and night, overseeing issues of safety and security of their respective areas. However, the report says in some places, the scheme did not do well.

The report recommends that that police visibility needs to be intensified and monitored to reduce crime rate at the level of the station, and that manpower be increased to cater for the high population rate in the station’s policing area.

It has also been noted in the report that Mbayani, Chirimba, Nancholi and Manase Townships are prone to gender- based violence.

The police station has pledged to continue sensitizing the general public through their office of community policing about the ills of gender-based violence.

The report, prepared by the police station’s Research and Planning Unit, evaluates the performance of Blantyre Police Station for the period January to June 2009 compared to the same period in 2008.

“It is when we are focused in the fight in the aforesaid areas that we will be able to meet the expectations of the people of Blantyre, that of living in a safe and secure environment,” it says-Malawi Digest.

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