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Kilifi leads in murders while Nairobi has most crimes, police report says


crime

Measured relative to population sizes, coastal counties fared worse than the rest of the country.

Sunday March 20 2016

You are most likely to be murdered in Kilifi, Kiambu and Nakuru than in any other county, according to the latest crime statistics.

These three counties have replaced Nairobi — the epicentre of homicides until 2013 — when it was overtaken by Kilifi and Nakuru.

Kiambu, which had the fourth highest number of murders nationally in 2014 has also become less safer, climbing up two places, according to the 2015 statistics.

Offences involving the police increased by 51 per cent, with the number of officers accepting bribes rising by a staggering 300 per cent.

Overall, crime countrywide rose marginally last year — by four per cent. It is, however, not all doom, death and gloom. Nationally, cases of robbery with violence dropped by five per cent, while carjackings fell by 22 per cent.

The capital has also become safer, with fewer crimes reported in 2015 compared to 2014. The neighbouring Machakos County had the lowest murder rates, with only 25 murder and manslaughter cases reported in 2015.

In contrast, however, 235 cases of murder and manslaughter were reported in Kilifi while 135 were reported in Kiambu.

In Kilifi, the killings of elderly people accused of witchcraft could probably be blamed for the runaway killings.

According to the data, the number of reported crimes was highest in Kiambu county (where 4,768 crimes were reported), followed by Nakuru (4,384), Nairobi (4,383), Meru (4,215) and Mombasa, where 3,194 crimes were reported.

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When the same numbers of crimes are pegged on population sizes in each county, a different pattern emerges. Measured relative to population sizes, counties at the Coast fared worse than the rest of the country, with Lamu, Mombasa, and Taita-Taveta leading in the number of reported crimes.

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These were followed by Meru, Kiambu, Nakuru, Tana River, Kericho, Murang’a and Nyandarua. Nairobi is ranked at 38.

Cases of false accounting also rose by 22 per cent.

This could mean that the probability of being a victim of crime was higher in counties with lower populations because criminals have fewer targets.

Lamu, a thinly-populated county, has witnessed violent attacks by Al-Shabaab terrorists in the past three years, largely because it borders Somalia.

While thefts such as purse snatching and pick-pocketing went down nationally by five per cent in the period, “stealing by directors” increased by 83 per cent, meaning that thefts by managers and senior staff were on the rise. Cases of false accounting also rose by 22 per cent.

Police have attributed the drop in reported crimes in Nairobi to increased surveillance following the installation of cameras in key spots around the capital.

CAMERAS PAY OFF

That the capital, which contributes about 60 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP), is no longer the dangerous city it once was will be good news to investors, residents and tourists. For investors, falling crime rates lowers the cost of doing business. Safer cities are also good for tourism.

Incidentally, the drop in reported crimes in the capital contrasted with the national trend where the number increased from 69,736 in 2014 to 72,490 in 2015. This was partly as a result of a sharp increase in crimes in the eastern region, which recorded a 72 per cent surge.

For years, armed crimes in Nairobi had reached alarming levels, earning the capital the dubious title “Nairobbery”. To tame crime in Nairobi and Mombasa, the country’s most important cities, the government installed 1,800 surveillance cameras in strategic places.

This measure was partly in response to increased attacks by Al-Shabaab. The investments appeared to have paid dividends. A UN report said Kenyans were the second happiest in the region — after Somalia — because, among other reasons, of reduced terrorist attacks.

Increased surveillance on buildings in Nairobi — initially meant to prevent terrorist attacks — also led to a huge drop in theft from buildings by 36 per cent.

An opinion poll published last weekend also indicated that corruption and unemployment had become the biggest concerns for Kenyans, overtaking insecurity, which had been ranked as the biggest concern for Kenyans in a poll by Transparency International last year.

LESS CARJACKING

In 2013, Nairobi was in the global headlines after Al-Shabaab attacked the Westgate shopping mall and killed 69 people and injured 161 in a three-day siege.

Last year, the number of deaths blamed on terrorist attacks increased to 205 up from 173 in 2014. The deaths at the Garissa University College accounted for 77 per cent of those killed by the Somali-based terrorist group.

Compared to 2014, when 51 terrorists incidents were recorded, 2015 saw a 45 per cent drop in the number of incidents. However, it is also the year, that Al-Shabaab attacked the Garissa University College, killing 148.

Increased surveillance on buildings in Nairobi — initially meant to prevent terrorist attacks — also led to a huge drop in theft from buildings by 36 per cent. However, violent robberies were still most common in Nairobi. Meru and Kiambu were second and third respectively.

Nationally, motorists would be interested in the finding that your car is more likely to be stolen in Meru, Kiambu and Nakuru and that it is likely to be untouched in Kirinyaga and Kajiado counties.

Nationally, cases of carjacking dropped by 22 per cent, robbery with violence dropped by six per cent while car thefts dropped by 23 per cent. Meru also leads in theft of livestock followed by Kisumu and Siaya.

Sadly also, offences involving the police increased by 51 per cent, with the number of officers accepting bribes rising by a staggering 300 per cent.