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Crime drops in December as murder tops incidents

Tuesday, January 18th, 2022 00:00 | By
Police officers attend to a crime in Nairobi’s Embakasi constituency last year. Photo/FILE

There was a decrease in criminal incidents across the country in December compared to the previous month.

Crime statistics reported in the last two months of the year indicate that 6,197 cases were reported in November compared to 5,320 in December, representing a decrease of 877 cases (14 per cent).

Among the crimes that reported the highest numbers in December include murder (151), suicide (70), defilement (304), sodomy (70), assault (729), creating disturbance (254), robbery with violence (128), and house breaking (158).

Reports indicate the 304 defilement cases reported in December may not be the actual figure as some parents, chiefs and village elders are said to be settling such cases through Kangaroo courts after receiving some form of compensation.

Others are possession of drugs (247), malicious damage to property (154), obtaining by false pretence (275), stock theft (110), stealing (710), and stealing of motor vehicles (133).

During the same period there was an increase in cases of theft of motor vehicles which increased from 17 to 133, affray (184) cases, maiming (89), causing death by dangerous driving (28), suicide (70) and obtaining through false pretences (275).

According to a report by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), there was a decrease in cases of murder which eased to 151 from 171, defilement from 409 to 304, and malicious damage from 284 to 154. The highest decrease was reported in assault cases which decreased from 1,172 cases in November to 729 in December.

Among the killings reported in December include one where Constable Benson Imbatu based at Kabete Police Station shot dead his lover, Caroline Asava, and five boda boda riders before blowing off his head using an AK47 rifle that he had been issued with for official duties.

The total number of deaths reported was 264.

One case of abduction was reported in December compared to 5 cases in the previous month. Others were gang rape (2), bigamy (2), bestiality (1), procuring abortion (1) and incest (34).

Within the same period no cases of child stealing, child trafficking, escape from lawful custody, issuing a bad cheque, and possession of wildlife trophies were reported.

The National Police Service spokesman Bruno Shioso yesterday said the decrease was due to enhanced patrols and interagency cooperation.

“Due to deteriorating security in the neighbouring counties, the President directed that all leaves be cancelled and officers report back on duty,” Shioso said. 

“The order, through our Minister, was to the police and members of the national government administration officers who include regional, county, deputy county, assistant county commissioners, chiefs and assistant chiefs,” he added.

The DCI George Kinoti said the current report on crime is very encouraging particularly coming at a time the country is approaching elections. 

“We are happy to note that cases of robbery with violence, particularly involving suspects using guns, have drastically reduced. It shows that our intelligence based detection is effective, said the DCI.

Security experts, however, say the police crime statistics are sometimes unreliable due to poor recording practices.  Exacerbating this is the limited reporting of crimes by victims.

Research indicates that some of the incidents are not reported to police due to factors such as fear of victimisation, slow justice process and the fact that there was little action in past reported cases.

Investigations also reveal that some police commanders routinely “massaged” crime figures and downgrade offences to less serious crimes in order to meet targets and look better in the eyes of the public and their bosses.

According to the report, cases of robbery with violence reduced from 148 in November to 128 in December. However, there are cases where robberies are reported as mere thefts to create an impression that crime is under control.

According to policing experts, accurate data can not only provide a valuable measure of trends but also help the service work out where, when and how often crime is happening as well as how to respond and what resources to deploy.

In a past interview, the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) in charge of Kenya Police Edward Mbugua warned that some of the police crime statistics were not reliable as reports from the stations were doctored.

“It is only through accurate reporting that we can get the true picture of crime. This will go a long way in informing policing strategies,” Mbugua said.

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