There has been an outcry over muggings, robbery, picket pocketing and other vices in Nairobi.
The crimes are associated with mostly men in the lower echelons of society, otherwise known as hustlers.
There are fewer women in crime and prison.
Why the noticeable spike in crime, and what’s the long-term solution?
Crime seems to rise when there is a regime change as the new administration adjusts to reality.
The resulting vacuum easily sucks in criminals. In the current situation, there is another complication: the hustler movement.
The current regime might not want to annoy the hustlers by cracking hard on them. Some could argue there was a promise of “freedom” during the campaigns. Are these evildoers enjoying that freedom?
Politics and promises aside, we are seeing the consequences of Covid-19 and the war in Ukraine.
This is on top of drought and the fact that many people, especially men are jobless. I am not justifying crime. But crime and economic downturn go together.
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However, in advanced economies, such jobless men and women get State support, from food to shelter. They have no excuse to get into crime.
The Jubilee regime tried to take care of those over 70 years by giving them stipends.
The next cohort to get support is the unemployed. It might seem costly and fueling dependency, but good rules and regulations can stem that.
The long-term solution is to grow the economy. We need to create the right environment to innovate, start and expand firms beyond our borders. Think of jobs created by M-Pesa agents or boda boda riders.
The growing economy will support the few jobless citizens! The police will most likely crack down on criminals. Most of them would easily reform if given economic alternatives.
An economic solution to crime is more effective and long-lasting. Others worry that some innocent citizens will be collateral damage in the war on crime.
Why is the media reporting that criminals are escaping to Mt Kenya from Nairobi? Why one direction?
Can we learn from other countries how to take care of vulnerable members of society without blaming or condemning them? After all, these criminals are not aliens, we know them.
Some conspiracy theorists or realists opine that the runaway crime is not random; it’s a pathway to power consolidation as the problem is solved.
They cite how governments used Covid-19 to consolidate power. What is the truth?