How affordable housing can help prevent cr*me

Tuesday, December 19th, 2023 04:00 | By
President William Ruto inspects Mukuru Met Social Housing Project in Mukuru, Nairobi County.
President William Ruto inspects Mukuru Met Social Housing Project in Mukuru, Nairobi County. PHOTO/@WilliamsRuto/X

The ongoing debate on affordable housing is not a national policy concern for only politicians and general public, but one which other interest groups, especially professionals and those in academia should also be concerned with and wade into.

Justification for the merits and demerits of this noble policy intervention continue to be proffered, with numerous case studies from other jurisdictions shared on similar pathways that have been pursued towards economic advancement.

Outcome positives so far enumerated include the quality and dignity of life of the people, growing of the economy through short and long-term interventions of job creation, amongst others. It is these very reasons advanced that an unequivocal correlation is hereby drawn with one area of key interest to all Kenyans: crime (as an effect), with its linked causes.

Whenever there is any discourse on the state of the national, or even local economies, crime or its absence thereof must be at the table as a variable. The latter (absence of crime in society) without any fear of contradiction is one of the most visible and convincing indicators as a lead measure of both national macro- and micro-economic performance.

A nation will only prosper and develop only to that extent and in direct proportion to the presence of security, with its guarantees that crime shall remain at the minimum, and thus citizens shall have no fear of crime and attendant offending.

Meaning, citizens shall move around, plan, and conduct their activities confidently and assured of clear envisaged outcomes of their daily actions. But not when other diabolic miscreants equally plan and profile others with the determinism and impunity of causing havoc to innocent lives and hard earned property.

As such, crime is an economic factor, and hence, crime matters in all such discussions as with the current discourse on affordable housing.

Crime is a reality that impacts the proper functioning of the economy at both macro and micro levels. This crime incidence is not evenly spread as one may expect but concentrated in only a few spots. Crime is, therefore, a function of clear visible hotspots that persists within some locales more than others.

For urban areas, crime, especially of the serious nature, is normally clustered around densely populated slums, where the rule of law is either scarce or altogether absent, and law enforcement doesn’t serve. This is a distinct departure as with the case of affluent neighbourhoods such as Runda and Muthaiga.

Living in a crowded, lacking, and dingy environment has all the hallmarks of the ingredients of crime - however one looks at it or rationalises. This is the stark reality that crime statistics would affirmatively attest to. This, therefore, calls for crime reduction solutions. And towards such solution finding, the government proposes the affordable housing programme as a panacea to deal with youth idleness due to unemployment and empower them economically too.

Further, the proposal is a game changer as it would kill many birds with the same stone. Sure, there will be some pains and inconveniences borne by mostly the privileged in supporting and underwriting such a massive programme, but without pain comes no gain! With some tears today, tomorrow may bring happiness when crime dissipates from our communities and the economy rebounds, courtesy of the housing transformation.

As clearly shared by H.E the President, during Jamhuri Day celebrations, Singapore and others walked this very journey many years ago and are currently reaping from their vision and then pain. With the execution of this marshall project, the needy youth shall in the intervening period be pulled off crime - a by-product of social and terrulic factors, and thus driven back into meaningful work as artisans and casuals, hence fend for themselves and their families.

— The writer is the Director General - Kenya Coast Guard Service

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