Why some riders get into crime

Unemployment, poverty and drug abuse have fueled crime in the boda boda transport sub-sector dominated by a majorly youthful population of males, a new report suggests.

The riders, according to the National Crime Research Centre (NCRC), have low levels of schooling, with majority at primary and secondary education levels and family responsibilities drive them to commit crime.

However, the report indicates that the main causes of boda boda motorcycle-related crimes is unemployment and idleness, which account for 48.3 per cent, and poverty, which accounts for 24.9 per cent. Drug and substance abuse, lack of or weak regulation of the boda boda sub-sector also contribute to crime.

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Other causes include greed and desire for quick money at 10.6 per cent, weak law enforcement by police and other law enforcement agencies at 10.4 per cent, peer pressure factors at 7.9 per cent and high levels of illiteracy at 6.3 per cent.

The riders also commit crime due to poor transport infrastructure, which accounts for three per cent, and high cost of living at 1.8 per cent, corruption among law enforcers at 1.7 per cent and ease of access to firearms through the porous Kenyan borders, which accounts for 1.6 per cent.

And now the agency is recommending that the Government should establish a database of all boda boda operators through mandatory registration, refresher training and testing, regulation and effective oversight of the sub-sector.

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The Government should address unemployment by putting in place programmes and modalities to address poverty and widespread unemployment, especially among the youth.

NCRC recommends that boda boda motorcycle owners should undertake insurance policy cover for their motorcycles, employ professionally trained and certified riders, vet and undertake criminal background checks on riders they employ.

“They could further assist the trade by installing tracking devices on their motorcycles; ensuring all statutory documents for ownership of the motorbike and riders are in place and help by registering their motorcycles in boda boda saccos and associations,” reads the report.

And in order to effectively deal with boda boda and related crimes, it is recommended that National Police Service increases intelligence and surveillance of the sub-sector to identify crime patterns, trends and hot spots as well as undertake intelligence-led policing in gathering information and profiling of criminals or rogue operators masquerading as boda boda operators. 

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National Crime Research Centrepoverty and drug abuseboda boda sub-sector