Fifteen counties where women have become more dangerous
By Fred Kagonye
| September 20th 2021
The number of crimes reported to the police last year may have dropped drastically countrywide, but about one in three counties saw more women offenders than in 2019. The 15 counties where reports on the number of women committing crimes rose were led by Nakuru, Kitui, Samburu, Kisii and Kirinyaga.
These top five counties were followed by Taita Taveta, Garissa, Kwale, Kajiado, Tharaka Nithi, Nandi, West Pokot, Siaya, Baringo and Kilifi. The number of male offenders, on the other hand, increased in 11 counties: Siaya, Nakuru, Embu, Kitui, Machakos, Taita Taveta, Samburu, Isiolo, Kwale, Homa Bay and Turkana.
In all, just over 17,000 fewer people were reported to the police as having committed crimes in 2020 at 65,083 against 82,398 persons in 2019.
According to the recently released Economic Survey 2021, men accounted for 83 per cent of these offenders. Nairobi had the highest number of people reported as having committed crimes at 7.6 per cent of the country’s total, followed by Kiambu, Nakuru and Kisii counties.
The highest overall increase in the number of persons who committed crimes was recorded in Kitui, while Nairobi had the highest decrease. Generally, there were nearly 24,000 fewer cases reported to the police in 2020 than in the previous year, a 25.4 per cent drop.
And while this translated to quieter scenes being witnessed in police stations across the country than in 2019, those in Lamu, Taita Taveta, Garissa, Kisumu and Samburu counties filed more cases.
Additionally, two in five (41 per cent) of all the crimes that did get reported last year happened in just eight counties: Nairobi, Kiambu, Nakuru, Machakos, Meru, Kisii, Kisumu and Mombasa.
Further, out of 17 crime categories, three saw an uptick. Offences against morality (which include commercial sex work, procuring abortions and running brothels), homicides and corruption increased by 13.7 per cent, 4.7 per cent and 2.3 per cent, respectively.
These numbers can be attributed to the measures put in place to help curb the spread of Covid-19. Curfews, travel restrictions and business closures impacted the incidence of crime in multiple ways.
Clinton Obongo, a forensic criminologist, security expert and the Managing Director of Background Checks Security and Investigations, said for any crime to occur, there must be a likely offender and a target, uniting in a certain time and place without a capable guardian in the vicinity.
“With the restrictions in place, several crimes would not take place because their very nature necessitates the convergence of the three constituent parts,” he said, adding that most crimes were prevented by the likely offender and target being separated by various containment measures.
For corruption, which saw the number of cases reported to the police rising to 133 from 130 in 2019, Mr Obongo said: “The opportunity was huge for law enforcement, government officials and other Kenyans to take advantage of the enforcement of Covid-19 restrictions to gain.”
And though offences against morality showed the largest rise in all categories, these crimes can be termed victimless, as, in most cases, they involve consenting adults.
Odongo said both offences against morality and homicide were mostly fuelled by hard economic times. Both the offender and target did not have a guardian, who could be a law enforcement officer or a relative, nearby due to pandemic-related restrictions.
Counties that had the highest recorded cases of crime also ranked high in their contribution to the national gross domestic product (GDP).
Nairobi topped the list with 5,999 cases reported, while Kiambu had 4,353 cases. Meru was third at 4,163 cases, followed by Nakuru and Machakos with 3,492 and 2,842 cases, respectively.
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