Act on spiralling crime wave

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I’ve had the fortune or misfortune of facing carjackers, armed thugs, pick-pockets, and machete-wielding muggers.  And I know there are several other Kenyans who have had the same experience, or much worse.

For some time, I have not had to cast a furtive nervous glance at my rear view mirror while driving home or peek at the surroundings while I converse on my cell phone.  But, I’m not sure my safety is guaranteed anymore.

Some months back, one by one, people I know would tell me about a close shave with crimes, tales of escape or horrible incidents that happened to them. It is easy to paint this as a one off and maybe ponder briefly about the up in the frequency. But all this changed on Thursday, when a group of people was carjacked and robbed outside the apartment block I live in.  And this happened roughly two minutes after I had driven into the compound.

I was still trying to come to terms with that information and had taken a shower to lull me to a deep sleep, when I heard three gunshots.  I couldn’t help but think, ‘how safe am I?’

If an MP – who is armed and has bodyguards – can be carjacked right outside his home and be held hostage for three hours, what about me? If a Permanent Secretary, can be shot at and robbed, what about me?

Mind you, as I write this, none of these thugs has been apprehended.

I keep seeing forwards circulating in my email and SMS inbox warning me of new and clever ways that thugs are using to rob people.  But to date I have not heard of some new ploy or gadget that has been employed by the police to catch these crooks.

Something is definitely wrong here, don’t you think Mr Ali? I imagine it is about time senior officers stopped trying to blame each other for the security situation or lack of it and co-operate to carry out meaningful reforms in the police force – to give us security! Why is it that the only time you hear of officers being trained is when there is an international threat like piracy or terrorism, and the training is not even sponsored by Kenya itself? It is more often than not, a ‘helping hand’.

This government should pump in more resources and EFFORT to making sure the police are on top of their game and not the criminals they chase. Prof George Saitoti should stop pleading with petty fuel ‘thieves’ in an attempt to appeal to their better judgement and just take action!

The security arm of this government and the police force just need to work, or very soon there will be fewer Kenyans paying taxes for them to earn a salary, and more Kenyans stealing what they have ‘taken’ from others.

And they should build decent structures for these officers while they are at it!

After reading the story on PS Kinuthia Murugu being attacked on Saturday, one reader was grateful that at least those in high office now know how other ordinary Kenyans feel insecure.  I refuse to believe the statement was purely out of malice, but rather the hope that now action will be taken to prevent such occurrences in future – and not just for Mr Murugu.

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