Blitz on pickpockets stepped up

The Herald, November 16, 1985

A NATIONWIDE blitz on pickpockets is to be intensified immediately to protect month-end pay packets being snatched by criminals roaming the streets and business houses, Senior Assistant Commissioner (Crime) Ode Douglas Chingoka, said yesterday.

The exercise would continue until criminals realised that committing crime did not pay.

“We shall continue hunting them down until there is complete tranquillity in the country,” Cde Chingoka told The Herald.

He said police anticipated a rise in crime before Christmas and New Year because of the large amounts of money people would be spending on shopping.

“This month-end many people will receive their bonuses and these criminals are preparing to snatch the money,” Cde Chingoka said.

Police patrols would be increased in streets, bus and railway stations, shops and banks. Cde Chingoka said police would use all available resources to protect the public.

“We shall leave no stone unturned.”

He asked the public not to carry large sums of money but bank most of it. Cde Chingoka said shoppers should watch out for conman and criminals who might pretend they had cheaper items for sale.

“They should stop looking for cheaper goods from people who are not involved in business,” he said.

He said the public should not leave items, which would attract thieves, in their cars. Cars should always be locked.

People should avoid walking in dark alleys and should look behind in case someone was following them.

LESSONS FOR TODAY

  • Pickpocketing is one of the oldest and most widespread crimes in the world. The first recorded cases of the vice were in the 1800s.
  • Most pick pocketers around the world normally target busy and congested areas to pounce on their victim.
  • While pick pocketing is common around the world, Barcelona’s iconic Las Ramblas pedestrian walkway in Spain is notorious for pick pockets due to the high number of tourists. During peak tourist seasons it is super crowded making it perfect for pickpockets.
  • In Zimbabwe most pickpockets target wallets and cellphones. This therefore requires that people should ensure that they have secured their valuables, especially in deep pockets that do not bulge, which tend to attract the pick pocketers.
  • The public should also be always alert and aware of their surroundings especially when walking in crowded places or when walking at night.
  • The police should frequent pick pocketing hot spots as well as increasing personnel to monitor areas such as commuter bus ranks where people are more prone to be robbed.

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