In the past few days we have heard horrifying narratives from a cross section of Kenyans who have fallen victim to various forms of crime ranging from carjacking, housebreaking to even murder and armed robberies. We also got many words of advice on what to do in case of an attack.
We have received assurances and responses from crime fighters and law enforcement agents including the Police Spokesman Erick Kiraithe who, as expected, tirelessly defended his force.
Through the Office of the Government spokesman Dr Alfred Mutua, we have got a sneak preview into efforts by the authorities to make Nairobi a safe place to live and do business. Having gone through all this reminded me of our own failure as a people to fight crime.
All of us, I’m sure, have witnessed daytime muggings and other forms of theft which have also been aired on our TV screens where bags of elderly women are snatched, car headlights, bumpers, wheel caps and windbreakers stolen as members of the public watch indifferently.
It is also clear from reports that most of the offenders are young people – they are the bearers of the greatest responsibility to these acts of insecurity. Social scientists and religious organisations have all along blamed the general society for the deteriorating social fabric that would otherwise have moulded these youths to be responsible citizens who can fend for themselves instead of resorting to gaining from other people’s sweat.
Over the years we have heard that what skewed the minds of these criminals is what is beamed in our media. But this should not be the case, when you see a pick pocket and turn a blind eye; when you see a man choking a help-less school boy to steal his Sh50 pocket money and you don’t intervene or shout for help, then YOU are as culpable as the criminal.
But if social forces or guns or violent TV shows and movies are to blame, then we need programs, crusades and concerted government action to try to change the very nature of our culture and society. We need to clear our streets and homes of guns, revive our economy, and adopt new forms of educational indoctrination.
We need a culture change. Take the first step and fight crime; It begins with you, When you see a commotion don’t ignore it, take action even if it means looking for a police officer, or by just shouting to attract attention. It could be a risky affair but sometimes your intervention could help save a life.
When you act, you will be a responsible citizen. Have an accountable week ahead.