July 16, 2012

Violent crimes surge

Nasik Swami
Monday, July 16, 2012

THERE has been an increase in the number of violent robberies in the Southern and Western divisions.

And to curb this, the Fiji Police Force's Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and the Ready Action Unit have teamed up.

CID director Senior Superintendent of Police Vakacegu Toduadua said as they teamed up, members of the public should expect an increase in the number of police presence in the weekends.

SSP Toduadua said the police operation followed a rise in violent crimes such as aggravated robbery, house breaking, and burglary targeting taxidrivers.

"The operation will involve static snap road blocks and foot patrols by police officers in red zone areas such as the Southern and Western divisions," he said.

He also advised members of the public not to leave their homes vacant.

"We are approaching the Hibiscus Festival and people should be very careful when leaving their houses vacant," he said.

SSP Toduadua said if there were circumstances when one had to leave the house vacant, they should either inform their neighbours or the nearest community police post for police patrol.

Meanwhile, the police are also concerned about the increasing attacks on taxidrivers.

According to figures released by police, reports received since January stands at about 50 and also includes the theft of motor vehicle with the taxi later used for robberies.

The police, after analysing the time of aggravated robbery offences, said majority of the cases were from 8pm to 7am between Thursday and Monday.

Police have also noted that the offences are often committed by a group of people.

Commissioner of Police Brigadier General Ioane Naivalurua has called on taxidrivers to take precautions at all times and be mindful of their safety.

On average, three to five reports had been received per week lately and were not only a concern for the police but for the taxi industry.

"I am calling on the Fiji Taxi Association and the Land Transport Authority to help us deal with this matter, and look into the safety of taxidrivers in the country," Brig-Gen Naivalurua said in a statement yesterday.

Brig-Gen Naivalurua said dealing with this issue was no longer limited to the police. He said the association needed to look at ways of ensuring that their drivers were safe and to look at safety precautionary measures that could be put in place.

"We want the operators to be aware that taxidrivers are now being targeted by opportunists and they need to know that this is one of the worrying crime trends."

Brig-Gen Naivalurua has given his assurance that the issue is being looked into and the police force will not tolerate the actions of a few who are intent on robbing innocent taxidrivers of their livelihoods.

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