Amid spate of pick-pocketing and robbery incidents around the Westfield Cooperative especially during the night, vendors have called on the Inspector General of Police to address the issue with urgency.
“I have witnessed many incidents of theft and robbery here at Westfield. Many times they (boys) would steal materials from people and would run to the Christians’ cemetery as a hideout,” an anonymous source told this medium.
“We are really fed-up with the theft cases that happen here all the time. I have been selling bananas here for the past eleven (11) years and have seen a lot here, but the recent cases of theft and robbery are going out of hand.”
However, she pointed out that in the night, a lot of boys would be around the Westfield Cooperative purposely to steal from people. “In most cases, they would be in a group and before doing anything; they would either slap you first or injure the person before forcefully taking what they want. We really need the police to pay maximum attention to this place.”
“Sometime last month, a girl was seriously beaten here by about six boys in the night around 8pm before they took her bag and ran away with it to the cemetery,” a Cafe Touba vendor said, Few days ago, another incident took place here when two boys stole an Iphone12 Pro Max from a girl and threatened to stab her with a knife if she had shouted for help,” he told The Point.
Highlighting on the rampant pick-pocketing cases around the Westfield area, he said some boys pretend to be apprentices when that’s never the case. “A lot of people have lost their money, valuable phones and other gadgets in the hands of these so-called apprentices. On many occasions people have bitterly cried after losing money stolen from them and most of them weren’t the original owners of those monies stolen.”
“Almost every day we come across incidents of pick-pocketing cases here. Yes there are some Gambians doing such ugly things to their fellow Gambians but some of these people are non-Gambians also, but whether Gambians or non-Gambians, we need the police always here during the night in order to stop these cases.”
An orange vendor around the area also revealed to this medium that sometimes people would lose a particular property, but for the fear of being injured, they would forgo it. “We are really urging the government to help solve these problems. We can’t develop as a country when our youths are very much engaged in stealing from their own people,” he lamented.
He disclosed that a few months ago at Westfield, a woman lost money around D255,000 sent to her by her younger brother from abroad for the construction of their family compound. “This woman lost the money here at Westfield by these boys while she was finding a vehicle back home from the bank,” he said.
Contacted for comments, Dr. Muhammed Lamin Sanyang, director at the Directorate of Research and Consultancy of the University of The Gambia, said there is an urgent need for the Research Institutions in the country to conduct diagnostic research to deeply understand the root cause of the current increase of crime in the country.
However, he said there is also the need to provide effective policy recommendations to be implemented by the relevant stakeholders. “We cannot stand and watch our country crumble without doing the needful. Every concerned Gambian has a role to play in promoting peace and stability,” he stated.