Written by on April 1, 2019

THERE is a dangerous culture of gangs that is taking root in communities and for some reason, police are failing to wipe out these criminal entities.
We shall never grow tired to talk about the need for security in our nation because it is dominant to all citizens.
This is because lack of security can perpetuate lack of trust among individuals, communities and this can ultimately affect economic growth and investment, and absorb government resources, which could otherwise be spent in development.
So the reported ugly emergence of a group of young criminals calling itself ‘junkies’ in Lusaka’s Chawama Compound should cause concern and alarm to all well-meaning Zambians
Residents of this compound have raised concerns over the presence of a group of young criminals commonly known as junkies that is reigning terror in the area.
The residents have complained that the junkies are normally active at night when they attack people and rob them of their valuables after taking drugs.
This too is comprehensible because darkness, they say, is a symbol of evil or mystery or fear.
The darkness is almost like a monster waiting to swallow someone in whole and the junkies know this even better because an absence of light has inspired them to carry out their evils acts with little or no interference.
One incident, the drug addicted gang members stripped naked one of their victims because she did not have any money for them to take?
Brenda Kolala said that she was attacked by the same group of criminals as she went home from evening prayers.
“After they realized that I had no money, they undressed me and went away with my clothes leaving me completely naked. On that day, I had to knock at a house nearby after they got my clothes and was helped by a woman who sympathized with me,” she said.
Another concerned resident of Chawama Margaret Lupia says said that she had been a victim of the junkies several times in the night.
“They patronize bars and take advantage of unsuspecting people. I have been a victim and they have attacked me on several occasions but I thank God, for sparing my life,” said Ms Lupia said.
She explained that the most worrying turn of events is the rise in the junkies number in the area mainly caused by unemployment among the youths.
Ms Lupia says the criminal have become so brazen that they are not scared of attacking even in broad day light.
“Residents are now living in fear of these boys and have appealed for increased police patrols in the area to curb these illegal activities,” she said
Unfortunately for Lusaka it is not only in Chawama where these ruffians are plying their trade. They have been reported in Matero, Makeni Villa area and other parts of the capital city.
This obviously cannot be allowed to go on. We think there is every need now than ever before to establish effective police-community relations to enhance security, trust, and protection of populations, especially women.
This should include strengthening police capacities to adopt community-oriented and gender-responsive policing.
Time is now for our police to be on top of crime in Lusaka by seriously identifying both the causes of insecurity and solutions to improve safety.
An important component of this work is building capacity of police, strengthening accountable institutions and individuals, and advocating for community/police activities to reduce crime.
Admittedly there is high level of unemployment among youths but that should not be used as an excuse to indulge in crime which does, after all, not pay.
We think police should ensure that most of the times these Junkies are made to feel that breaking the law is risky business.
Criminals not only Lusaka but in the entire nation who at will violate the law, must consequently face prison, fines, injunctions, damages, and any number of other unpleasant consequences.

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