Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has raised concern at the increasing crime rate at cemeteries during burial services, with thieves said to be targeting parked vehicles.
This was raised by City fathers at the recently held full council meeting.
Speaking during the meeting ward 7 councillor, Shadreck Sibanda said he has noted an increase in theft during burial services.
“I have noted that there has been an increase in theft in cars, especially at cemeteries. I want to know if the chair has heard those issues and what can be done to stop such cases,” said Cllr Sibanda.
Ward 29 councillor Alderman Monica Lubimbi said she has since advised residents to ensure that their vehicles are parked in a safe place.
“I always tell residents not to park their cars close to the gate because those cemeteries are close to Ngozi mine and more often than not thieves open people’s cars,” she said.
“At times I advise people to at least leave one person behind to guard the car than to leave it unattended.”
Ward 9 councillor Donaldson Mabutho said there is a need for the local authority to deploy council security officers who will be manning people’s cars when residents are conducting their services at cemeteries.
“There is a lot of thieving happening at cemeteries. One thing I noticed that the department did, last week I was at the Cemetry and I saw a big signpost which says make sure your doors are locked there are a lot of thieves,” said Cllr Mabutho.
“I think chairman through your committee, you need to beef up security maybe two or three council officers who will be manning the area that when people are conducting the burial ceremony, they will be patrolling to reduce cases of theft,” he said.
Ward 12 Councilor Lilian Mlilo said it is the responsibility of councillors to warn residents about the increasing theft cases at cemeteries.
“This is the responsibility of councillors if people are reporting these crimes let us teach them where to park their cars when going to cemeteries for burial services,” said Cllr Mlilo.
“I experienced that at Athlone Cemetry and ever since then residents now know that they either leave someone behind to guard the cars. It’s up to us if we want to teach residents or we employ people as council to be manning the vehicles during burial services,” she said.
However, ward 4 Silas Chigora noted that cases of theft in parked vehicles was on the increase in the city.
“Generally, in the city there is high crime rate and our message as council is to warn residents to leave people behind to guard the cars otherwise as a council we won’t have enough security, it’s a bit of a challenge,” said Cllr Chigora.
Ward 1 councillor Mlandu Ncube, however, applauded the current set up at cemeteries saying this has reduced the number of people going to cemeteries during the burial services.