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Petty Crime on the rise in Norton

By Trevor Makonyonga

Whilst others take comfort in drinking beer when they have money some focus on just watching soccer in bars and other such spots. But there is a section of young people that has become too radical that they cannot engage in such “light” social activities. Such a place is the Cabs area located in Katanga high density suburb in Norton. The place has become a hub of petty crimes and is seemingly breeding more criminals as the days go by.

It has become an unsafe territory to walk even in daylight as it is infested by marauding youths who are often ‘high’ on substances with no will to develop themselves. The area houses a shopping centre which is conveniently located to serve people residing in some parts of Katanga and those residing in the Cabs area itself. However, it is not safe anymore to send kids to go buy things as they are being beaten up and either their money or good gets snatched from them. As for adults there is an alley that links the residential area to the shops where people’s bags are being snatched.

263Chat spoke to a vendor in the Cabs area popularly known as Mai Simoko who attributed the rise of petty crime in this area. She said, “The youth in this area cannot be trusted. The other day it was raining and people left their clothes to dry on washing lines and the majority of the people in the neighbourhood were complaining that they were missing something. It is now totally unbearable and it is slowly becoming unsafe. We are now knocking off early because it is no longer safe to stay late at the market place.”

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The main reason why these crimes are occurring relates to drug abuse. Cabs houses a cartel of drug abusers who are mostly unemployed which usually means that they have to hustle for money to ‘quench their addictions’. Sadly the economy is not doing enough to help them get jobs so they resort to crime. Another unfortunate aspect about this is that most of the people using drugs are young people.

A lady, a victim of these youths, said “These thieves are a menace and something has to be done fast. People are reluctant because they are still stealing small things but soon it might intensify. Some of these thieves might graduate to being armed robbers or even murderers. We have to clean up our society.”

Some of the avid drug users denied the allegation that the thieves were looking for drug money. One such person is a young man who only identified himself as Faya. Faya said that although the need for drugs can be unbearable at times, the feeling is controllable and won’t push a sane person into stealing. He said, “The need for drugs is like how one reacts when in need for a cigarette. You crave it and if you hold the feeling a little longer it subsides. These kids who are stealing are not doing it for drugs but they are criminals. Cough syrups and marijuana are not hard drugs that will make anyone shake. Those kids must be cracked down.”

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The inactivity of the youth in Norton could also be attributed to this sudden appalling rise of criminal activity. There is barely a community centre in the town, no viable businesses and the industrial area is as silent as a graveyard relegating the hopes and dreams of the youth to either a beer bottle or a huff and a puff of a “spliff”. The lucky youths become obsessed with religion which keeps them away from trouble but without a source of income.

Councillor of the area, Takawira said, “These cases are on the rise largely because people have nothing to do. If only we could have police officers patrolling in the area maybe the culprits will be brought to book. We have a need for this area to be swept out. The other day a certain fellow was struck with an iron rod on the forehead but fortunately it wasn’t that serious. The youths are menacing the area.”

In order for the town to be safe again, there is need for a collective effort to be established so that the offenders will be brought to book and that the environment will be safe to bring up children. As it is, it is a dungeon of crooked little creatures looking to devour the last worth a person has.

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263Chat is a Zimbabwean media organisation focused on encouraging & participating in progressive national dialogue

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