Communities need to take a stand against crime and work with law enforcement agencies to make their areas safer.
This was the message at an event organised by the Social Development and Early Childhood Development Directorate (ECD) to acknowledge residents who completed a three-month training programme aimed at fighting crime in Harare.
The training equipped community leaders, residents and neighbourhood watch members with leadership skills, communication skills and techniques to combat crime in the area.
And at the ceremony, held on Friday February 23, they were applauded for taking the brave steps and putting their lives at risk so that their communities could be a better place to live in.
Housebreaking, alcohol and drug abuse as well as businesses robberies were some of the main problems facing the area.
Social Development and ECD representative, Nondwe Senoamali, said they wanted stakeholders who were assisting law enforcement agencies to be equipped with all the necessary skills available, and to feel appreciated.
She said their main aim was to create a safer society and that since they started running the programme, crime in the area had dropped and they had managed to curb youth gangsterism.
She emphasised that it was everyone’s responsibility to keep their areas safe and said they were glad that the community had recognised the impact of the programme and was slowly yielding the desired outcome.
“We have made a commitment to strengthen the fight against crime. We should stop blaming the police and ask ourselves are we playing the needed role to assist them in their efforts. Crime affects all of us. We need to end the blaming game and work together. We should take collective responsibility to educate our children about the consequences of doing crime and drugs,” she said.
Ward councillor Anele Gabuza praised the residents for taking a bold step in the fight against crime.
He said the role that these stakeholders were playing in their community was irreplaceable and described them as unsung heroes. He added that he felt proud to have people like them in his ward who were dedicated to keeping the community of Harare safe, but pleaded with the residents to work with the police and be their eyes and ears.
“We want to live in a drug- and alcohol-free community. We want our children to grow up in a society that is made up of good law-abiding citizens. We want to build a better society. Potential investors should feel free to invest in our communities,” he said.
Phumeza Mashicila, who completed the programme, said she was glad to have been among the group of people who participated in the training, but most importantly, she said, she was proud to be counted among the group of people that had actually taken a stand to fight crime in their community.
“I appeal to young people to be agents of change in this community of Harare. We need also to address some of the causes of crime. We have a duty as residents to play an active role in keeping our areas safe,” she said.