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We must address social ills that motivate crime

Adapted From Business Daily Posted Tuesday, December 28 2010 at 00:00
The Kenya Police annual crime report for the year 2010 makes for some depressing reading.

Although the department is revelling in the five per cent reduction in overall incidents of crime, statistics cannot convey the trauma that comes with every bodily harm, life lost or property plundered through the wily actions of social misfits.

It is especially to avoid such depression – which at times affects the society more than the victim – that mankind craves for a crime free environment. That is not to say the police department has not earned its keep in keeping rapists, burglars, muggers and fraudsters at bay, given its resource constraints.

According to the police, a fertile ground for crime has been laid in Kenya through displacement of people from their settlements, proliferation of small arms and light weapons; drugs and substance abuse; and developmental factors like poverty and unemployment that have given organised crime groups an eager recruitment base.

While solutions to the capacity issues in the Police department only await implementation, the collapse in the social order makes the fight against crime a more daunting proposition.

That makes the resettlement of internally displaced persons and control of small arms and light weapons potential quick wins in the fight against insecurity.

While the organised gangs have in the recent past been sent underground through increased surveillance, they have a tendency to mutate into more dangerous forces of terror.

This demands that the police retain their vigilance against organised crime while interesting more non governmental bodies to penetrate the gangs through sustainable interventions that occupy the youth, generate income and alleviate poverty.

As far as organised crime goes, however, the issue of drugs and substance abuse needs to be taken a notch higher.

It is instructive that youthful politicians that the youth view as role models have in the recent past attracted attention for their involvement in drug rings.

It is unlikely that the fight against drugs, alcohol and substance abuse will have the desired impact until such leaders are kept out of public office and appropriate action taken to demonstrate that crime does not pay.

The report also casts the spotlight on the rising cases of economic crimes, offences against morality as well as family and gender violence, which it says should attract research interest from criminologists and social workers.

In releasing this report, the police department is crying out for assistance from all quarters to help bring down crime to levels that would not make residents live in fear or scare away visitors and investors from betting on Kenya and creating jobs in the report.

By its very diagnostic nature, the report should be used by policy makers to prescribe targeted interventions at the social, economic, legislative and enforcement levels that will help minimise crime in the country, especially from a preventive perspective.

THE COMMISSIONER OF POLICE, MR. MATHEW K. ITEERE, MGH, CBS, OGW DURING THE SIGNING CEREMONY OF THE MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE KENYATTA UNIVERSITY AND THE KENYA POLICE SERVICE HELD AT KENYATTA UNIVERSITY ON THE 1 ST OF OCTOBER 2010

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