THE country’s organised manufacturing sector lobby group, the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) has sounded the alarm bells over rising crime levels, warning that this may affect foreign direct investments.
In its latest report titled Crime Trends in Zimbabwe, the CZI says crime has been on an upward trend, increasing by 12% first half of 2022 compared to the corresponding period in 2021.
At the core of this increase are cases of fraud, armed robbery, unlawful entry into premises and theft, evidently resulting in massive losses for the business community and households.
Before this report, the manufacturers were mainly lobbying for policy shift on macro-economic stability.
The report shows that various businesses and households have been subjected to armed robberies. Recorded cases of armed robbery in which firearms were used increased to 695 from January to July 2022 from 640 cases in the same period in 2021.
Out of these 695 cases, a total of 100 accused persons were arrested and taken to court, where 28 of them have been convicted. The 9% increase in armed robberies is of great concern to business and the general public.
On a positive note, cases of armed robbery where other weapons were used have been on a decline. From January to July 2022 a total of 2 426 cases were recorded, which is a 4% decline from the 2 516 cases recorded in the same period in 2021.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police managed to account for 561 accused persons and 193 of them were convicted at courts.
“Crime is also a major factor in the cost of doing business. Businesses operating in a high crime environment have to spend more on crime prevention and insurance. Sadly, crime in Zimbabwe is increasing which negatively impact on the operating environment for the Zimbabwean business,” the report reads.
“High crime rates damage the country’s image, which affects the countries’ ability to attract foreign direct investments. Additionally, a high crime rate increases the cost of doing business since corporations will be obligated to safeguard their assets using sophisticated gadgetry and mechanisms, the cost of insurance also goes up. Business must continue to work hand-in-hand with police through the Business Against Crime Forum of Zimbabwe to combat crime and create a safe doing business environment.”
Fraud cases, according to the report, increased by 4% to a total of 5 875 from January to July 2022 compared to 5 650 cases recorded during the same period last year. Out of these cases, a total of 3 045 accused persons were arrested and taken to court where 846 of them have been convicted, the report shows.
“Due to the worldwide increase in the use of e-commerce, businesses are more susceptible to fraud cases. Businesses and individuals are losing large sums of money through transactions conducted via the internet,” the report reads.
“According to ZRP, most criminals are posing like potential customers intending to buy large quantities of products which they would propose to pay for using international transacting platforms. The business would receive text messages confirming that money has been transferred into their account when in actual fact, the message would be fake.”
The report further shows that in 2022, cases of unlawful entry and theft has been on the rise. Since January up to July 2022, about 23 304 cases had been recorded, compared to 21 144 cases in the same period in 2021.
The 9% increase is of great concern for business and individuals, as it will likely result in increased insurance premiums.
A total of 360 cases of theft of motor vehicles were recorded during the period from January to July 2022 compared to 340 cases recorded during the same period last year.
This translates to a 6% increase. Out of the 360 cases, 88 accused persons were apprehended and 24 of them have since been convicted at courts.