Robbers Spill More Blood

Gone are the days when robbers would go on operations with only daggers, break-in gadgets and sheer physical strength. Things have changed drastically these past few months, as robberies are now laced with fatalities, with daredevil robbers on unregistered motorbikes touting deadly sometimes automatic weapons prowling Accra and Kumasi. Last Wednesday evening, a taxi driver was shot dead when he identified one of the robbers who robbed a female client of her bag in his car. He was shot dead because his assailant stood the chance of being arrested, having been recognized. In most of these murders, the robbers are able to undertake the operations with ease, suggesting how generally people in neighbourhoods where such crimes are committed show little or no interest in assisting victims or even taking mental notes of the details of the robbers and the vehicles they use. While we are not asking armless people to confront armed robbers, we find it unacceptable that when the criminals descend on their prey, such victims are left to their fate. The kind of cooperation between members of the public and the police that can make robberies impossible or even difficult, is still lacking. The Police Administration would have to reach out further to the public to enhance such cooperation. We have observed the various interventions such as the introduction of police personnel at some parts of Accra, especially traffic intersections and roundabouts in Accra. While this is a wonderful novelty, we still think that there is more room for enhancing policing so that the daredevil killer robbers can be outwitted. The use of motorbikes to commit robberies and even murder is a fact that calls for further regulation. We are sure that the Police have a frightening statistics on the use of motorbikes for murderous robbery operations, but without an accompanying legislation there is little they can do to stop the motorbikes from being used beyond a certain time limit, in Accra especially. Such legislation could have gone a long way in stemming the menace. The proliferation of small arms, local and foreign, is another source of worry in this country. The ease with which robbers acquire deadly small arms is amazing, especially when we consider the fact that the Police must register all such firearms. While a house-to-house search for firearms might sound outrageous, a lot more can be done to alter the status quo. The solution lies in an enhanced cooperation between the Police and members of the public. The joint military/police patrols should seize unregistered motorbikes as a matter of urgency. At the policy level, we ask that the importation of flimsy used motorbikes, whose acquisition is not beyond the average youth in Accra’s slums, should be stopped. Alternatively, a heavy duty could be slapped on them to deter their importation on the scale that we are witnessing.