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Karen residents question endless police transfers as crime wave surges

By Joe Kiarie | June 27th 2015

Residents of Nairobi’s Karen are pointing accusing fingers at the National Police Service over rising crime rate.

Top among their concerns is the frequent transfer of senior police officers and a perceived half-hearted effort by law enforcers to combat crime. Once seen as Kenya’s most secure area, the affluent Karen has become a crime hot spot.

In January last year, the Karen and Lang’ata District Association (KLDA), wrote to then Police Inspector General David Kimaiyo, after Chief Inspector Stanley Gitobu, an OCS they deemed efficient, was transferred after less than five months in office.

“During this time, Gitobu has made a considerable improvement to the crime situation... This lady (Mwarania) will be the fifth OCS in Karen within five years...,” reads the letter signed by Eng Erastus Mwongera, the association’s chairman. Lt Col (Rtd) Clive Lee, a KLDA volunteer in charge of security, confirms Kimaiyo never responded.

“We later engaged the deputy IG who said the matter was beyond her...,” says Lee.

Lee says most residents trust private security firms more because they are reliable.
One of the main modes of crime involves gunmen on motorbikes waylaying residents and robbing them.

Rose Karobia, the KLDA chief communications manager, attributes the rise in crime to the opening up of the area, which has allowed easy access to criminals from the nearby slums.

While Hardy and Karen Police stations have requested for reinforcements to deal with the crime, police accuse many licensed gun holders in Karen of revealing their guns unnecessarily.

This, says Hardy OCS Kennedy Kemboi, has made such individuals vulnerable to criminals interested in stealing the firearms.

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