Protect yourself from crime

For many years, the city of Nairobi has been synonymous with high crime levels but the recent crime wave has assumed a level of viciousness never before seen by city residents. And it is not just Nairobi that is suffering: rural areas have been hard-hit as well.

Most Kenyans are already used to robberies, burglaries, pickpocketing and car-jacking. The latest crime wave includes kidnapping, gang-rape, sodomy and senseless murder. In a rather disturbing turn of criminal trends, there are many cases where bodies are found with cash and other valuables still intact.

Hijacking of buses followed by the mass rape of female passengers has instilled fear among the travelling public. Even men are not immune from sexual assault. People have been abducted from the streets and forced to withdraw all their money from ATM machines. One unlucky victim was kept by gangsters for more than three days because of the daily withdrawal limit. Cattle rustling has spread from the usual hotspots of northern Kenyan and taken hold in Laikipia, Trans Nzoia, Kisii, Ukambani, Luo Nyanza and Western province.

What is driving this new wave of brutality by Kenyans against other Kenyans? The global economic crisis has resulted in thousands of people losing their jobs, or watching their business incomes decline. There are millions of youth in Kenya with little prospects of getting a job and who have lost faith in their society.

A dysfunctional ruling class has cheapened the value of human life so much that the deaths of 1,500 people in post election violence counts for nothing. Many Kenyans lost family and friends to the violence. The 500,000 who became homeless and destitute have received little help. The post election violence had profound negative impacts on Kenya’s psychology and this will take a long time to heal.

As a result of rising danger, it is imperative that everybody takes personal responsibility for their own security. Anyone can be a victim given the wrong set of unfortunate circumstances. Here are a few tips to practice everyday:

  1. Learn to trust your instincts: if something or somebody makes you uncomfortable, leave immediately.
  2. Be alert to your surroundings in order to detect anything abnormal.
  3. Avoid deserted lanes, footpaths and highways.
  4. Avoid staying out late in the night.
  5. As much as possible, get a friend to accompany you to a bar or club in order to minimize the chances of getting your food or drinks spiked with drugs.
  6. Do not pick strangers in the bar or the streets. Many men have lost possessions after they were drugged by commercial sex workers.
  7. Do not give out personal information to strangers. Do not discuss your personal details or travel plans in a public area. Potential kidnappers could take advantage of such information to target you.
  8. Do not give out account details and passwords over the telephone or email. Banks and credit card agencies will never ask for such information in such a manner.
  9. Minimize night travel on long-distance buses.
  10. Do not walk around with jewellery, expensive mobile phones and laptop computers.
  11. Avoid carrying large sums of cash. In these days of M-Pesa, Zap, bankers cheques and electronic cash transfers, it is unnecessary to move around with huge wads of money.
  12. Do not use ATM machines late at night. Even during the day, avoid isolated ATMs or those located directly on busy streets.
  13. For those going out on blind dates (thanks to the Internet), never agree to meet in an isolated location. Do not allow your new date to take you away from public view. You could become a victim of kidnapping.
  14. When visiting public parks (Uhuru Park, Arboretum, Mama Ngina Drive, Hippo Point, Menengai Crater), make sure you leave by nightfall. Thugs usually take advantage of the sunset to launch attacks.
  15. If you happen to be attacked by criminals, co-operate and never look them in the eye.

Teach these tips to your children. Its not about being paranoid: it is about staying safe. Being alert is not the same as being scared.

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5 Responses

  1. Clearly, our social breakdown as a nation continues to accelerate at an alarming rate. This is very good advice. Lets all stay alert and safe.

    The big question remains though:
    outside our incompetent and myopic leadership, what else can we the ordinary citizens do to salvage our country??

  2. If Kenyans stopped breeding like rats, then we wouldn’t be having this problem in the first place. Gava should instruct docs to funga the tubes of any woman who passes through the maternity ward of a public hospital in order to save her from herself.

    • The crime situation in Kenya is alarming, I live in a ‘rich’ neighbourhood and i am writing to you , all around my house and all i see is security men,security fences,security cars. I am told that we have huge number of unemployed youth and many have turned to crime as a lucrative opportunity to feed themselves. The problem is because poor people are giving birth to more poor people. which leads to more mouths to feed.

      My night watchman has 8 kids!!!

      women should be sterilized across this continent, the population is just too much! especially the poor

  3. kenyan dude, surely you cannot be serious. with all the problems going on in kenya it’s women who need to be saved from themselves? way to shift the burden of responsibility. the problem is not that people are giving birth, it’s that the resources that should be available to all kenyans are being used to service the salaries of miisters and assitant ministers and other govt officials who’s purpose is not political but financial.

    please, THINK before you make such statements. the elite who are in power will continue stealing regardless of how many women give birth until wanainchi take a stand. not the ” if there is a lower birth rate there will be enough money to go around afer they are through stealing” attitude but more “we must demand more, not just the bare minumum from those we elect to office”.

    assuming that you are a man, your idea that the govt should be in charge of women’s reproductive systems (just like china) instead of changing it’s policy and budgeting is shocking. after all, you do not have the capability to give birth and your cavalier attitude shows that you don’t give a damn either way, you probably heard an opinion in a bar and thought it was a great idea. but lets focus on the issues instead of treating the symptoms.

  4. Some authorities have a hand in these kidnappings robberies and gang rape. The recent corruption have robbed the country of development infrastructure and it has filled pockets of corrupts and not the people of Kenya.

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