Mt Hagen City residents are complaining about their safety when shopping or marketing in the town area.
They say they don’t feel safe anymore, as they are usually left with no money after they are attacked by thugs.
However, Western Highlands Provincial Police Commander, Chief Superintendent Martin Lakari, told EMTV News he has beefed up security at criminal hotspots in the City.
The City residents told EMTV News that the main market area is the most unsafe place to go to do marketing.
They say the number of thieves in the market outnumber vendors and market goers.
They say it is unsafe for mothers and girls to go by themselves and do marketing.
“Mipla kisim K10 go market, K1 mipla kisim kumu na K9 senis ol raskol kisim pinis na mipla go lo haus nating,” a mother, Lyn Gambakoli confessed to us.
Even those who sell their fresh produce at the market say they don’t make enough profit, because people are afraid to do marketing.
Market vendors usually go home empty-handed after they finish selling their fresh produce, because their money is being taken away by thugs.
“Mi salim potato stap na ol kam tok moni kam nating na mi no givim now ol destroyim market blo mi, [ I am usually here to sell potatoes but all the proceeds go to thugs as on quite a few occasions they have trashed my stall, ” Lyn Danny, a vendor, told EMTV News.
PPC Martin Lakari said he is aware of the situation, and has already deployed a taskforce to the hotspots in the town.
“My Hagen Police believe in prevention and we’ve taken proactive measures by deploying task force to the criminal hotspots such as the market area and Mendi-Tari and Wabag bus stop,” said PPC Lakari.
Lakari went on to say many times the criminals escape because the matter is not reported to police on time.
He is urging City residents, local and international tourists to take extra care in the city. There is a hotline number for a quick response patrol unit to attend. The phone number is:542 2222.
Lakari said there have also been reports of vendors selling marijuana at the main market.
Police have tried several times to stop the trade, but have failed because market vendors do not share information.
Lakari urged the community to assist the police by reporting such matters.