Fresh crackdown to rid CBD of muggers, pickpockets looming

NAIROBI |

Central OCPD Adamson Bungei displays cash and a homemade pistol recovered from a suspect, September 2021. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

A fresh crackdown to rid Nairobi of street families is looming with the police saying the plan will improve the security in the capital.

Central OCPD Adamson Bungei said this is part of a strategy to eliminate petty crimes in the city.

He said members of the street families are often used to commit crimes such as mugging and snatching car side mirrors.

"Some of them are used to transport stolen goods and peddling drugs including bhang," Bungei said.

The OCPD said the new strategy was adopted based on the experience gained during Christmas and New Year seasons.

"During the holidays, crime in the city went down by about 80 per cent and this was because most of the street children were out of the city. No major crimes were reported in the Central Business District during the season. So far, January has largely been without incidents of crime," Bungei said.

Other than deploying over 300 police officers to man the security of the city during that period, the absence of most of the street families massively contributed to the absence of incidents.

Bungei said they are also keen on increasing police presence in Nairobi as it has proven to deter crime.

"Criminals may not do much when they see our officers in almost every corner of the city. They know we are keen to act in case of anything. Members of the public are also able to quickly report to the officers in case they spot a suspected criminal or activity that may cause public disturbance," he said.

Police officers on patrol at Nairobi'S CBD. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

He also said more plainclothes officers will be deployed in strategic areas perceived to be hot spots of crime.

"We shall have many uninformed and ununiformed police officers around bus stations including Kencom, Ambassadeur, Railways, Machakos Country Bus and Bus Station," said Bungei.

He added: "The Globe Roundabout bridge, the path from Uhuru Park to the CBD, and Central Park are other areas that will be under heavy surveillance by the police."

"We shall also enhance security in busy trading areas, including River Road, Ronald Ngala Street, Luthuli Avenue, and Biashara Street. I appeal to the public to partner with the police in the fight against crime by volunteering information. This will help us track culprits or foil attacks," said the officer.

During the festive season, Bungei said, the police officers in the CBD arrested several people who posed as travellers but intended to steal. "This group of criminals targeted travellers who were mostly those arriving in the city from upcountry."

At the Nairobi Country Bus, Bungei said, they arrested two people reportedly selling fake bus tickets. And they had managed to fill two stalled buses with passengers by the time of arrest, Bungei said.

"The passengers who were travelling to the Western part of the country - to Busia and Kakamega - had been duped that the buses were operational yet they had stalled for months. The criminals had only washed the tyres of the buses to make it look like they were working," said Bungei.

Bungei said a special squad had been formed to track and arrest criminals who con people by pretending they can pray for them to double their money.

Also on police radar are gamblers who steal from unsuspecting members of the public.

The gamblers mostly were found along Tom Mboya Street, near Muthurwa market, Railway Station, and Country Bus, are reported to have shifted from the city and now operating in estates.

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