Inspector General (IG) of Police Lot Dzonzi has given his officers up to end of this month to reduce the crime rate that has increased in the cities of Blantyre and Lilongwe and arrest suspects involved.
Several housebreaking, murder and robbery cases have been reported in the media in the past two months in the cities, some occurring even in daylight, prompting some quarters to attribute the trends to the recent devaluation of the kwacha.
In an interview on Wednesday, Dzonzi said he recently summoned all station and regional criminal investigations department (CID) officers to police headquarters in Lilongwe on a developing pattern of crime, particularly house and office-breaking in the two cities.
Said Dzonzi: â€œAs IG, when I noted the trend, I gave the CID officers a warning and a target to bring a difference by end of this month. Police patrols disperse criminals and I have challenged my regional commissioners to research when the dispersed are committing crimes.â€
Dzonzi said while the police did not have records to show increased crime rate, the reality on the ground spoke a different storyâ€”the collaboration of employees and criminals in some companies and housebreaking being common.
He said causes of crime differ from time to time and that one study showed that recent arrests were made on mostly young people between the ages of 20 and 35 years, some of whom were educated, but lack employable skills.
The IG noted that other factors include untrustworthy employees working in finance or security departments of various companies who tip criminals on specific banking hours that usually coincide with a robbery.
Dzonzi said he has written the Ministry of Home Affairs to begin dialogue on improving the security industry in the country after he observed it lacks governing laws and guidelines.
Said Dzonzi: â€œSecurity companies simply register with no standard training. Guards are sometimes caught unawares by robbers and lack skill in handling particular situations. With governing laws, this could be addressed.â€