Meru, Lamu, Kirinyaga, Murang'a and Embu top the list of counties with the highest crime rates, police records show. Data from the National Police Service (NPS) covering the year ended December 2021 shows the crime index in Meru was at 326, making it the county with the most crime incidents per 100,000 people.
The report, which lists Kwale (104), Kakamega (107) and West Pokot (108) as the counties with the lowest crime rates, shows that only 18 counties have a score below the national average of 170 crimes per 100,000 people.
NPS explains that it calculates the crime index by dividing the number of reported crimes in a particular county by the total population in the same area and then multiplying this by 100,000. For example, in the year 2021, there were 81,272 crimes in Kenya and the population is 47,564,296. This equates to a crime rate of 170 per 100,000 people," says NPS in the report.
The ranking shows that counties such as Mandera, Wajir, Turkana, and Garissa rank better on crime instances per 100,000 people despite the many cases of insecurity that are being reported.
In terms of absolute numbers, Nairobi recorded the highest number of crimes at 6,686 followed by Kiambu (5,715) Meru (5,032), Nakuru (4,281) and Machakos (3,271).
The five accounted for nearly a third of all the crimes reported in the country last year.
The top cases in Nairobi were assaults. The NPS data shows crime rates in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and Nakuru were at 152, 195, 195 and 198, placing them at position 27, 18, 17 and 16 in terms of crimes per 100,000 people.
Out of the 81,272 cases reported last year, assault was on the lead 15,959 cases, followed by other penal code offences (8,514) stealing (11,762) and defilement with 6,366 cases.
Stealing recorded the sharpest rise among the offenses, increasing by 2,774 cases or 36.5 per cent, coinciding with the period Covid-19 economic hardships continued to batter families. Possession of dangerous drugs rose by 31.4 per cent as those of assault and creating disturbance spiked by 25.4 percent and 26.1 per cent, respectively.
The number of persons reported to the police to have committed crime last year was 84,194 with 68,817 being males. Females were 15,377.
"The most crime-committing age group was between the ages of 30 to 44years which had a total of 22,014 people reported to have committed offences," says the report.
Rift Valley region was singled as the one with the highest cases reported to the police. A total of 817 cases involving cattle rustling and stock theft were recorded last year, with 151 people killed and 187 injured.
According to the report, 62,476 livestock were stolen, with police managing to recover 27,980. This translated to an increase by 33,211 in terms of livestock stolen.
"The major reason for the sharp increase in the number of cattle stolen during the period under review is the persistent drought that struck extensively the cattle rearing communities and regions," says the report.
Police say most raids occurred during the movements in search of water and pasture for animals, boundary disputes and, negative politics outdated cultural practices. During the period under review, 104 police officers were killed in the line of duty compared with 84 in the previous year.