• The most common crimes are murder, rape and assault, vehicle thefts and cattle rustling.
• Police patrols will be supplemented by private guards and neighbourhood watch groups
Offences against persons – murder, rape and assault – lead the list of crimes in Rift Valley, Regional Coordinator George Natembeya said yesterday.
The others include car thefts and cattle rustling. The region has led the country in criminal activities for the last two years, according to the annual police crime report.
The 2017 report showed that Rift Valley registered 19,209 crime cases, the highest in the country.
At the district level, Nakuru had 4,313 cases followed by Uasin Gishu with 2,072 cases.
In 2018, Rift Valley had 19,209 cases, again the highest in the country.
Natembeya said his biggest task is to ensure that the region is peaceful to attract investors.
He said security is a collective responsibility that cannot be left to security organs alone. He put cattle rustlers on notice as he outlined the measures in place to secure the region.
He said communities still in possession of illegal firearms will be disarmed.
Kerio Valley, Turkana and Baringo have for a long time been the epicentre of insecurity arising from cattle rustling.
In August North Rift leaders signed a deal to restore peace in Kerio Valley. They agreed to end cattle rustling. An estimated 8,000 guns are suspected to be in the hands of bandits and civilians in Kerio Valley.
In September, the government launched a fresh disarmament campaign in the notorious valley where scores of people - including police officers - have been killed by bandits.
Community policing is another mechanism the regional coordinator intends to employ to reduce crime in the region.
The regional coordinator said communities play a big role in ensuring that criminals in their midst are exposed and reported to security agencies.
He emphasised the need for cordial relations between the police and communities in crime prevention, adding that police patrols will be supplemented by private guards and neighbourhood watch groups.
The latest census report from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics shows that Rift Valley has 12.7 million people.
Nakuru county has a population of 2,162,202 followed by Uasin-Gishu with 1,163,186 people.
Narok has 1,157,873 residents, Kajiado 1,117,840 while Turkana is least populated with 926,976 people.
In 2018, 133 cases relating to cattle rustling were reported in the region. Some 10,726 livestock were stolen with 5,319 recovered.
The main reasons for livestock-related crimes are competition for water and pasture for animals, boundary disputes and negative politics. Cattle rustling is also a factor of cultural practices.
Natembeya said cases of vehicle thefts have gone up.
In September, police launched a manhunt for more than 20 suspects behind vehicle thefts in Eldoret, Nakuru, Kericho, Bomet, Kitale, Iten, and other regions.
The region still has many cases of border conflicts.
Nandi has had a border dispute with Kisumu, prompting the intervention of Governors Stephen Sang and Anyang’ Nyong’o.
A similar case was reported in West Pokot and Turkana boundary beacons.
The dispute led to more than 10 deaths and displacement of residents and destruction of property.
Transmara in Narok has unresolved border cases involving Uasin Gishu and Siria clans.
“The region has fourteen counties. It is one of the largest in the country. You cannot expect the number of crimes in the region to be equal to other regions with few counties,” Natembeya said.
The regional boss was appointed in June. He had been the Narok County Commissioner.
He took over from Mongo Chimwaga.