By Promise Dube
The Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT) has reported a 13.7 percent decline in Zimbabwe’s crime rate from 206 300 cases recorded in the first quarter to 178 031 cases reported in the second quarter of 2023.
During the same period, crime rates were 1 359.1 per 100 000 population for the first quarter and 1172.9 per 100 000 population for the second quarter.
This decrease was seen in every province between the first and the second quarter of the year, said ZIMSTAT in its Crime and Prisons Statistics highlights for 2023’s second quarter.
“ZIMSTAT publishes statistics on levels and trends of crime in Zimbabwe based on police-recorded crime data. Recorded crime figures exclude crimes that have not been reported to the police,” said the agency.
ZIMSTAT said the most committed crimes were non-injurious traffic violations that accounted for 56 490 offenses at a rate of 372.2 per 100 000 population.
“The second most committed offense was theft with 35 295 offenses at a rate of 232.5 per 100 000 population. A total of 10 268 burglaries were recorded during the second quarter. During the same period, there were 290 victims of intentional homicide, reflecting a rate of 1.9 victims per 100 000 population,” said the agency.
“A total of 3 148 sexual violence offences and 2 905 cases of fraud were recorded during this period.”
There was also a population decrease of new prisoners in prisons while male convicts dominated with 92.8 percent and females at 7.2 during the second quarter of 2023.
“The new prisoner population decreased from 12 558 in the first quarter to 11 930 during the second quarter, according to the 2023 Second Quarter Prison Admissions and Discharges Statistics Report,” ZIMSTAT said.
Of the 11930 new prisoners admitted during the 2nd Quarter of 2023, 11 072 (92.8 percent) were male and 858 (7.2 percent) were female.
“The new male prisoner population declined from 11 707 to 11 072 and the population of new female prisoners increased slightly from 851 to 858. The Prison Admissions and Discharges Statistics sheds light on the prison population, the number and profile of prisoners admitted into, and those discharged from the country’s prison facilities,” said the agency.
“When compared to the 2023 first quarter, the prison population declined from 23 982 to 20 635. The male prison population declined from 23 341 to 20 035 while the female population declined from 641 to 600. Among the 20 635 prisoners held in Zimbabwe’s prisons during the second quarter of 2023, 15 329 (74.3 percent) were sentenced and 5,306 (25.7 percent) were not sentenced.”
ZIMSTAT said a number of prisoners were discharged from prison during the second quarter after they were granted amnesty and those who were sentenced to community service while the majority of prisoners were discharged after paying bail or obtaining free bail.
“A total of 14 853 prisoners were discharged from prison during the 2nd Quarter of 2023. Of these, 14 009 (94.3%) were male and 844 (5.7%) were female. Of the 14 853 prisoners who were discharged from prison, 9 612 (64.7%) were sentenced and 5 241, (35.3%) were not sentenced,” said the agency.
“Most sentenced prisoners who were discharged during the second quarter were released after being granted amnesty (44%), followed by those who were sentenced to community service (18.8%) and those whose sentences had expired. The majority of prisoners not sentenced were discharged after paying bail or obtaining free bail.”
Most of the prisoners were unemployed Zimbabwean, whose ages ranged between the ages of 20 to 30, having committed crimes like theft, assault, and burglary.
“The highest proportion of new male and female prisoners were between 20 and 24 years, followed by those aged between 25 and 29. A majority, 96.3 percent, of new prisoners were Zimbabwean nationals. Most of the new prisoners reported that they were unemployed before their imprisonment (63.6 percent),” said ZIMSTAT.
The most common of crimes committed by new prisoners were theft (21.9%), assault (15.4%), burglary (10.3%), robbery without firearms (5.7%), and domestic violence (5.5%).
“This distribution seems to mirror crimes that led to the imprisonment of new male prisoners. The crimes that led to the imprisonment of female prisoners were mostly theft, assault, migration, and drug-related offenses. More than a quarter of the crimes that led to the imprisonment of male prisoners aged 60 years and above (25.4%) were rape charges,” said ZIMSTAT.
New Non-Zimbabwean prisoners committed mostly immigration-related offenses (73.4%), trade or possession of protected or prohibited species of fauna and flora (13.2%).
“Unemployed male prisoners were mostly admitted for theft (21.3%), assault (16.1%), burglary (10.9%), and robbery (without a firearm) (5.8%). On the other hand, unemployed female prisoners were mostly admitted for theft (26.2%), migration-related offenses (15.6%), assault (13.2%) and drug-related offenses (7.2%),” said ZIMSTAT.