Nairobi’s Lucky Summer Estate, nestled in Ruaraka Constituency, off the Thika Superhighway, is perhaps one of the most dangerous areas to live in, although it is hard to tell at a glance.
But here gangsters can chase you in broad daylight brandishing knives or guns.
The estate is surrounded by major slums like Dandora, Ngomongo, Korogocho and Babadogo.
It is not uncommon to hear gunshots at night, with residents narrating the following day what they heard or saw from the safety of their upper floor apartments. Some have suffered at the hands of these merciless gangs, but lived to tell the story after surviving deep cuts or sustained injuries inflicted by the machete-wielding criminals.
As a result, Lucky Summer residents now return home early from work. While matatus ply other estate routes throughout the night, those serving Lucky Summer end their business at 11 pm.
There is speculation that some of the criminals cross to Lucky Summer from the slums neighbouring the estate.
The well-armed criminals are believed to be hosted in Lucky Summer by their accomplices before they engage in their acts.
While most criminals operate at night, some of the crimes reported in Lucky Summer have been committed during the day.
A survey sanctioned by the government and carried out by the Security Research and Information Centre in 2012 and launched by then Inspector-General of Police David Kimaiyo found that the most notorious places in Nairobi are parts of the Kayole, Kibera, Lunga Lunga slums, Jericho and Soweto, because robberies take place in those areas at any time of the day.
In Makadara, Mukuru kwa Reuben slums were mapped out because the area becomes a trade centre for firearms after dusk.
Kariokor and Mlango Kubwa in Starehe Division were identified as places where gangsters who need guns can easily hire them at any time of the day or night.
Kongo section of Dagoretti Division was also found to be awash with illicit firearms for hire, the report indicated.
The police boss said the report would help make it possible for stakeholders to consolidate their resources in order to address crime in the capital city, which is also the nerve centre of the country's economy and political leadership.
Lately, however, Lucky Summer, once a tranquil and orderly place, has experienced a wave of insecurity that has led to a general state of fear among the residents, thanks to the marauding gangs who have added it to their areas of operation.
Just last month, detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) gunned down two gangsters in the afternoon after receiving a distress call from locals who had been attacked at a supermarket in the area and robbed of valuables.
The two were killed in a shoot-out while the third escaped on foot. A pistol with three rounds ammunition and mobile phones were recovered.
A senior police officer privy to the matter said the gangsters were from Dandora estate, but crossed to Lucky Summer to cause mayhem.
“The two hail from Dandora slums and they seem to be part of the few thugs who are giving Lucky Summer locals sleepless nights,” he said.
Mr Dennis Kamau recently told the Nation how he had boarded a motorbike at Safari Park Hotel (at around 1 pm) and was headed to Lucky Summer estate, 6.5 km from the busy superhighway, only to learn later that the rider was a criminal.
As soon as they reached the Ngomongo Police Post, the rider headed to a field just in front of the police post. It is known to be dangerous and most criminals are believed to use the area as a hideout.
As the rider headed deeper into the field, Mr Kamau tried to stop him, but in vain.
“A few moments later, the rider stopped near a group of men who stole everything I had. To make matters worse, they even took my jacket and shirt. I went home bare-chested,” recalled Mr Kamau.
Some victims have been beaten for not co-operating as the merciless gangs steal from them.
Police, who have been conducting frequent night patrols in the estate, have also become casualties of the armed robbers.
In 2013, for instance, Constable Manasses Mwendia and his colleagues, Constable Robert Kerina and Constable Salad Aden, were on night duty in Lucky Summer around 11 pm when they stopped three suspicious-looking men.
One of the suspects immediately opened fire and shot Constable Mwendia in the forehead, killing him instantly.
An officer shot one of the suspects and recovered a Tokalev pistol, serial number EP12828, with an empty magazine.
Where there has been a recent attack, and panic has crept in, motorcyclists operating at night not only raise fares, but also demand that the person boarding also pay another motorcyclist an equal amount to serve as an escort. They often resort to waiting for each other so they move in groups, especially between 10 pm and 7 am.
In April last year, a resident, Mr Charles Ouma, came face to face with a gang that stabbed him five times then strangled and left him unconscious.
Fortunately, he got help from a good Samaritan who rushed him to St Francis Hospital.
The attackers were angered when they found that he had only Sh200 and demanded to know why he was walking without money.
And, in March 2018, an armed gang commandeered a matatu, attacked passengers and stole their valuables at the Lucky Summer bus stop.
The gang, which witnesses said comprised young men, had entered the 33-seater matatu as it was about to leave for the city centre and had taken vantage positions before attacking.