Eastern Province is the safest region in Kenya following a 12 per cent crime incidence rate record in the three months preceding July, a report says.
The crime rate in this region, according to the Synovate Research Group study, is five per cent below the national average of 17 per cent. Other relatively safe regions are Coast and Western provinces, which recorded a 14 per cent crime incidence rate in the same period.
The study identifies Kenya’s most crime-prone regions as Rift Valley and North Eastern provinces, which have a 21 per cent crime incident rate - four per cent above the national average. Central Province follows closely with 20 per cent.
Synovate’s findings, released by managing director George Waititu on Wednesday, indicate that Nyanza and Nairobi provinces had a crime rate of 17 per cent and 16 per cent, respectively, during the period.
The report says the number of Kenyans who have fallen into the hands of criminals has risen by close to eight per cent since December last year.
This led the crime rate in the country to jump to 18 per cent in March, this year, and only reduced by one per cent at the time of the last study in July.
Crime in Kenya had reduced to 10 per cent in December 2008 from 21 per cent in March 2003, the study shows. Synovate Research was formerly known as Steadman.
Mr Waititu attributed the rise in criminal activities to the emergence of criminal gangs and vigilante groups. He added that the hard economic times, including drought and high food prices, could be pushing Kenyans to crime to earn a livelihood.
The research has been conducted every three months since 2003 and involves face-to-face interviews targeting at least 2,000 adults. Most of those polled said they encountered criminals at home and in the night.
The researchers say that compared to Tanzania, which has a crime incidence of only three per cent, crime in Kenya is too high.
Synovate says the state of insecurity in the country is pushing investors away as they are not ready to invest in the current environment. Business leaders in Kenya placed insecurity as one of the three key challenges facing the economy.
Mr Waititu noted that 50 per cent of those queried said burglary was the most rampant form of crime while mugging at 38 per cent is second. Only six per cent of the respondents said they were involved in a carjacking.