Aid worker's death follows a surge in violent crime The murder of a western aid worker in one of Harare's posh suburbs this month has sent ripples of shock through the shrinking expatriate community. The body of 30-year-old Lisa Veron-Brunner, who worked for the World Health Organisation in the Zimbabwean capital, was discovered near her upturned vehicle late in the evening on January 10. She had been stabbed seven times in what appeared to be a botched robbery, according to a report from the US embassy. Her murder has been the subject of hushed conversations at diplomatic gatherings ever since, and has thrown the spotlight on the country's rising tide of violent crime. The Anglo-Swiss aid worker, who was employed on the WHO's anti-tuberculosis campaign, was last seen alive at her sports club, diplomatic sources said. 'She took an afternoon aerobics class together with another member of the diplomatic corps. They parted ways from their gym at 6pm and that was the last time she was seen alive. Her husband was in Johannesburg at the time,' said a source. The UN says it has stepped up security for its officials in the wake of the attack. In a grim twist, a local security officer last February warned that the lives of United Nations personnel working in Zimbabwe were in danger, a claim ridiculed by the government. Zimbabwe used to be a dream posting for western aid workers. The cost of living was relatively low, good schooling was affordable and, in urban areas at least, security was much better than in Johannesburg, the crime-weary capital of neighbouring South Africa. But all that has changed. Zimbabwe's five-year economic and political crisis has been accompanied by a surge in carjackings and armed house robberies. Well-to-do Zimbabweans, both white and black, are the main victims. Mazdas, Toyotas and luxury 4x4 vehicles are favoured targets for carjackers. There is speculation that some of the criminals are recent deportees from South Africa, where police blame 80 per cent of the country's armed bank robberies on Zimbabweans. '[Carjacking] is all over Zimbabwe. Hijackings have increased in Bulawayo. 'All these hijackings are violent, all the gangs are armed. They are going for your car and they are going for your mobile telephones and jewellery,' said a director of the Anti-Hijack Trust, a victims' support group.'When they happen, it causes great trauma to the body. Victims go through post-traumatic stress. Violent house robberies are a terrible, terrible problem. We have them on a daily basis.' The climate of fear has changed the urban landscape. No longer are there lush green lawns meeting the roadside. Houses in Harare's plush northern suburbs are now hidden from view behind high walls, topped with razor wire, cut glass or electric fences. There is a booming trade in 'durawalls', a concrete-style barrier. As evening falls, small armies of uniformed men congregate at crossroads. They are guards from private security firms, waiting to be assigned houses for the night. Expatriates now routinely ask to rent houses with a 'safe haven', a room surrounded by heavy grilles that are impenetrable to intruders.