Stock theft cases decline

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COMBINED efforts by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Anti-Stock Theft Unit and stakeholders to curb incidents of theft have resulted in a 30 percent decrease in cases during the first quarter of the year.
Statistics from the unit show that 1 188 cases were reported between January and April 2014 compared to 1 706 cases reported during the same period last year.
The number of stolen stock was 2 507 compared to 4 660 for the same period last year.
The unit recovered 1 058 cattle during the first quarter of the year. The recovery rate stands at 42 percent up from 33 percent last year.
Anti-Stock Theft co-ordinator Senior Assistant Commissioner Bernard Dumbura attributed the decline to increased awareness in communities.
“Following the various campaigns we have been doing we are getting positive results,” Snr Ass-Comm Dumbura said.
“Through programmes such as the branding of cattle we have witnessed a decline in cases as thieves do not want to steal branded cattle as they can be traced back to the owners.
“The exercise has also made it easier for owners to identify their cattle once stolen.”
Snr Ass-Comm Dumbura said other community-based initiatives were responsible for the decline in the cases.
“We are working with neighbourhood watch committees to monitor the movement of cattle in the villages and we have intensified patrols by police in metropolitan provinces,” he said.
“The stiffer clearance requirements for moving cattle have also helped as one has to produce stock cards and brand certificates if they intend to move cattle.”
The Anti-Stock Theft Unit, Snr Ass-Comm Dumbura said, increased the deployment of Anti- Stock Theft Unit officers countrywide.
“During the first quarter a total of 2 703 officers were deployed countrywide,” he said.
“This year we have since held 1 751 awareness campaigns countrywide educating the community on the disadvantages of engaging in stock theft.
“We have also taken the opportunity to encourage farmers to brand their cattle for easy identification and to report any stolen livestock.
The decrease of anti-stock theft, pundits said, will boost Government plans to increase the national herd to 25 million in the next 20 years.
In a move aimed to deter would-be offenders, Government has set stiffer penalties for the crime.
The harsh punishment is in line with the new sentencing guidelines in stock theft after law makers moved to change the law in response to the rising cases of cattle rustling.
For stealing one animal, one serves between nine to 25 years.
As part of efforts to curb the crime, the police force has embarked on nationwide campaigns, engaging the public on ways of dealing with the crime.
Snr Ass-Comm Dumbura said the unit has launched several campaigns since the start of the year.
“This week we launched ‘Operation Chengetedzai Zvipfuyo Zviripamutemo’ under which farmers are encouraged to keep records of their stock, register newly acquired stock or calves on stock cards within 14 days and transport stock in suitable vehicles,” he said.
“We have another Operation code-named, ‘Chengetedzai Zvipfuyo’ under which the police are encouraging farmers to look after their cattle by ensuring they are in pens at the required time and they are not left unattended when grazing.”
The unit is also running ‘Operation Mombe Mumugwagwa Kwete’ under which farmers are fined for cattle that stray into highways.
Snr Ass-Comm Dumbura said the unit had launched programmes to monitor the slaughtering of cattle and the selling of meat.
According to the unit more than 5 000 arrests were made for offences related to stock theft.
“These offences include the slaughtering of cattle for commercial purposes at unauthorised places, the selling of meat by butcheries that are not licensed or not in possession of medical certificates,” said Snr Ass-Comm Dumbura.
“We have exercises such as ‘Operation Nyama Yabvepi’ under which the police monitor the source of meat sold by any butchery; butcheries should be able to verify where they got the meat.
“Under ‘Operation Surveillance’ we have officers in plain clothes monitoring butcheries at night to monitor the movement of meat as there are some who bring in meat not slaughtered at slaughter houses.”
With concerted efforts by stakeholders to reduce stock theft having produced positive results, it is hoped the trend will be maintained.

1 COMMENT

  1. all people engaged on stocktheft activities are not sentenced to jail. they go there for some days then come back. as a community we don know what is happening to the court of law. it is painful because the police can do their duty and arrest the criminal then in a few days that person will be back. money is power, because of money they get from stocktheft they are able to use lawyers and buy even the court of law so as to win the case. here in rural areas if u can use your car to transport members of the force to look for criminals you will be in hot soup.

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