• The total number of crimes reported to police increased by 5.8 per cent from 88,268 in 2018 to 93,411 in 2019.
• Crimes reported on other offences against persons were highest and accounted for 29.1 per cent of all crimes reported to the police.
We live in unprecedented times. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, things seem to be different from what we are all used to . The security nets that most of us take for granted are limited and no longer seem to hold. From concerns inside the home, to threats lurking online, the situation has made people and businesses across the world including here in Kenya, vulnerable to a wide range of security risks. Protecting yourself and your loved ones during this difficult time is critical.
Our homes are our sanctuaries and our shelters. They are the cradles of our childhood and the albums of our memories. They share our joys and fears providing refuge from the world outside. Our homes ideally should be the place where we feel safe but sadly the reality is somewhat different. Most of all attacks happen in our homes and that number continues to grow despite the statistics provided by the police. A crime report in the Economic Survey released by Kenya Bureau of National Statistics in April 2020, indicates that there is an upsurge in crime.
The total number of crimes reported to police increased by 5.8 per cent from 88,268 in 2018 to 93,411 in 2019. Crimes reported on other offences against persons were highest and accounted for 29.1 per cent of all crimes reported to the police. Currently , the COVID-19 situation has created opportunities for criminals. Several day-time attacks, break-ins have been recorded in our neighbourhoods, with joggers, pedestrians and motorists falling prey. The social and economic stresses as a result of COVID-19 could be one of the factors for the recent increased rate of crime.
Criminals far outnumber the police. It is no wonder so many Kenyans feel helpless and frustrated. ‘No one can do anything’ certainly is the perception that many of us have. We however constantly criticise government, blame our police force and point fingers at everyone else except ourselves. Have we ever stopped to consider that as individuals we also have a part to play ? If we take personal responsibility for our own safety and collectively as a community, we can make a vast difference.
In our world today, we take a lot of things for granted, particularly personal safety and security. Criminals know this and have become a lot more brazen and smarter. We therefore need to think on our feet. The truth of the matter is that nothing can stop criminals from attacking you or breaking into your homes. If there is a will there is a way, right? What we need to do is to remove the will. Criminals are deterred by potential victims who appear to be or are unaware of their environment. It goes without saying that we should never leave our keys under the mats or plant pots.
They are given invitations for anyone to walk into our homes. Keep edges trimmed below window height. Make sure your property is well lit at night and never leave lights on during the day as criminals may take this to mean that you are away (it will also help you avoid hefty utility bills.)
Domestic staff make up a large proportion of our working force in Kenya and they provide invaluable services. Most of us do not know what it is like living without them. But remember, before employing anyone to work in your property, check their references and obtain copies of their identification cards. If you have someone working for you already, emphasise the need for security and ensure they are well versed with your security measures. It is also important for them to adhere to COVID-19 prevention guidelines. Finally, get to know your neighbours. You do not have to be best friends but be on the lookout for each other. Presenting criminals with unified community is a great deterrent.
Many countries including Kenya have seen an upsurge of domestic violence incidents. The situation is worsened by the rapid response measures such as the need for employees to work from home and lockdowns enforced by governments among others. With schools shut, there is no relief from children because they are all at home and need extra care. With all the social, psychological and economic stresses , it becomes really complicated where one is trapped in the house with an abusive individual.
It is important therefore that if you, or someone you know, are a victim of any kind of domestic abuse, including emotional and verbal abuse, do not hesitate to contact the police , even anonymously. During this time, it must be our duty to look after each other. Keeping yourself and your family safe during these extraordinary times is about protecting your mental health as well as your home. By remaining vigilant, making smart strategic and tactical considerations to minimise risk during the pandemic, we can keep each other safe and weather this storm together.
Lemerele is a certified security professional