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Fighting motorcycle theft paying off

Intensified operations against motorcycle theft continue to pay-off both in terms of recovering those stolen and arresting people behind the criminal behavior, Rwanda National Police (RNP) said.

Statistics indicate that twelve motorcycles have been reported at different police stations as stolen since the beginning of this year.

“Through investigations in collaboration with motorcycle cooperatives and motorcyclists in particular, as well as the general public, we have been able to identify some particular individuals and groups involved in this criminal habit, and actually the main destination both locally and across our borders where these stolen motorcycles are taken,” said RNP spokesperson, Commissioner of Police (CP) Theos Badege.

It is said that some stolen motorcycles are taken in the neighbouring countries through porous borders.

“Through this community policing bond with the people, we have been able to recover ten out of 12 motorcycles stolen this year. We have also arrested ten people behind these series of theft, and all of them were caught red-handed either trying to cross the borders or using them after changing plate numbers,” CP Badege said.

At least five of the recovered motorcycles were found in Rubavu including one which was recovered on Tuesday with its original plate numbers changed.

According to Solomon Bigirimana, the president of FERWACOTAMO, the federation of commercial motorcycle operators in Rwanda, “most of the motorcycles stolen from our members are intercepted before they cross the borders.”

“This used to be a serious concern in the past years, but today we are optimistic that when any of our members’ motorcycle is stolen and reported in time, it will be recovered through information exchange between the police and motorcyclists. It’s a tradition that as the police is informed about the theft, so are our members across the country,” Bigirimana said.

Currently there are about 55, 000 commercial motorcyclists across the country with a total of 13714 of them operating in the City of Kigali.

“We are currently mobilizing our members to install GPS – tracking devices – in their motorcycles, which will facilitate investigations and quick recovery in case it’s stolen. We have a server where, for example, a motorcycle can be locked wherever it is, and this includes if it has violated road safety standards or involved in any criminal acts,” said Bigirimana.

According to Bigirimana, they are also working to upgrade the GPS system to also be able to track motorcycles stolen and taken in the neighbouring countries.

“We will be able to know that a certain stolen or missing motorcycle is in a specific country, and this will also facilitate our police in their existing partnership with their counterparts in that country, to track and recover it and arrest criminals behind the theft.”

Meanwhile, CP Badege commended the role of motorcyclists in the general crime prevention process including facilitating community policing efforts, which he said, continue to improve their image rather than being labeled as wrongdoers facilitating criminality as it used to be in the past.

The Express News

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