Imagine living in a city where you could walk around any time of the day or night without fear of getting mugged or carjacked. For the revelers imagine being able to hang out without worrying about the mchele batallion. A city where motorists did not have to chain their side mirrors to their cars to avoid them getting snatched in traffic. A place where you could talk on your mobile phone freely without it being snatched from you. A city where ladies could just hop into a matatu without fear of being drugged. These and many others are the things that many Kenyans would wish to see in their cities in regards to security.
Nairobi on it’s part has come a long way in matters security. In the late nineties when almost everything was not working in the city, one had to walk in the middle of the street to avoid mugging by thugs who used to hide in the dark alleys. One minute you would be walking casually minding your own business the next you would find yourself in the air struggling to breath. By the time one landed back on solid ground, you would be minus your wallet and any other valuable that you had on yourself. It was so prevalent back then that Nairobians coined a name for it “kupigwa ngeta”. That experience used to leave one with a sore neck for a week as the thugs used to use a piece of wood to choke their victim so as to reduce resistance. Meeting the Police on patrol was not any better because they would also hassle you for a bribe failure to which you would find yourself in Central Police Station for loitering.
Nowadays, things are a bit better with the numerous street lights, cameras and more police on patrol. However, according to the National Crime Report released by the National Police Service last year we are not out of the woods yet. According to the report 2015 recorded a 4% increase in the levels of crime as compared to 2014 which translated to 3114 cases. This was mostly due to terrorism, proliferation of small arms and light weapons, inequity of resources, organized crimes, drug and substance abuse, community boundary disputes, sophistication of technology and politics driven by ethnic rivalry. In 2015, the overall crime recorded was 72,490 as compared to 69,376 cases in 2014. This increase was due to an increase in the following; offences against morality 980 cases or 19%, Dangerous drugs 675 cases or 14%, Other Penal Code Offences 573 cases or 10%, Criminal Damage 275 cases or 7%, Economic Crimes 207 cases or 7%, Other Offences against Persons 1263 cases or 6% and Theft of Stock 113 cases or 6%.
Given the fact that some members of the public have a general distrust of the Police hence don’t report incidences of crime to them, the actual crime figures could be higher than this. This distrust is mostly due to the fact that there is a general perception that the Police are most often than not unwilling to do their job, they need an incentive to do their job or that they might even be in cahoots with the thugs. We have all heard cases where robbery suspects are taken to the Police by members of the public only to be released a few hours later. This has led to members of the public resorting in taking matters in their own hands hence the lynching. If the Police simply did their job, matters of insecurity would be a thing of the past. For us to be able to deal effectively with the issue of security there needs to be a good working relationship between the Police and the members of the public. This can be done by getting rid of the bad apples in the service who taint the name of the Police. There also needs to be a change of attitude in the service towards the members of the public whereby they should view the public as their employers not as a cash cow and make ‘Utumishi Kwa Wote’ a reality.
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