Serious violent crimes, dangerous drug felonies and sexual offences make up the bulk of complaints reported to police, reveals a Nation Newsplex review of crime data.
The major crimes accounted for more than two-thirds (68 per cent) of all offences reported or about 53,112 cases in 2017, according to the Economic Survey 2018. Cases of robbery, burglaries and theft combined, contributed about a third of all reported cases. They were followed by assault cases (16 per cent.
Dangerous drugs cases and sex offences − rape, defilement, incest, bestiality, sodomy and abduction – contributed seven per cent each while homicides comprised about four per cent.
One in five households that experienced shocks within five years lost both their income and assets as a result of robbery or burglary or assault
The likelihood of being involved in crime varies widely by county, with residents of Meru being four times more likely to be victims of crime compared to those living in Kakamega. In the first quarter of this year, Meru had a reported crime rate of 102 cases per 100,000 people, the highest, compared to Kakamega's 21 offences per 100,000 people, according to the Kenya Police Service’s First Quarter Crime Report 2018.
In second place was Lamu with 87 incidents per 100,000 people, followed by Kiambu (85 cases), Embu (74 cases) and Kirinyaga (66 cases).
During the same period, the second least crime-prone county was Tana River and Bomet each with 25 incidents per 100,000 people, followed by West Pokot (28), and Kwale and Narok (29 each).
Garissa, Mandera and Wajir counties were excluded from the review because the population given for the three counties in the statistical abstracts for 2011 and 2015 were the same as the population in 2009. Therefore, only 44 counties were examined.
More than half of the counties had a crime rate above the national average of 44 crimes per 100,000 people.
Considering serious crimes by county in the first quarter of 2018, Kiambu had the highest number of robberies reported (88 cases), a position it maintained for the past two years. It also led in dangerous drugs offences (346 cases), whereas Nairobi topped in sexual offences (90 cases).
However, the numbers should not be used to infer the chances of someone falling victim to such crimes in those counties because population was not factored in.
Some of the major crimes have also been increasing steadily over the past five years. Dangerous drug cases along with economic crimes and corruption jumped by at least a third from 2013 to 2017 while sexual offences climbed by 15 per cent. Other serious crimes that increased during this time include theft of stock (nine per cent) and stealing (two per cent).
Reported traffic offences increased by more than half in the five years to 2017, the highest. But some progress was made when traffic-related crime fell by half last year compared to the previous year. In contrast, progress made against crimes by police officers over the years was almost wiped out when the offences in this category spiked by half in 2017 compared to the previous year, the highest jump. It was followed by stealing (12 per cent), theft of stock (11 per cent), break-ins (nine per cent) and theft by servants (eight per cent).
Homicides have steadily increased by five per cent from 2,648 in 2015 to 2,774, after dropping by a quarter in 2014. The number of people reported for committing homicide increased by six per cent to 2,240 people in 2017 from 2,112 in 2016.
However, robberies plunged by a quarter between 2013 and 2017, followed by theft of motor vehicles (14 per cent) and crimes involving police (nine per cent). Homicides − murder, infanticides, manslaughter, abortion, suicide and death by dangerous driving − and break-ins each declined by four per cent.
But with population factored in, the national homicide rate has been declining in the five years under review, with the peak being in 2013 at seven killings per 100,000 people before it declined by 10 per cent to stand at six killings per 100,000 in 2017. The rate of robberies per 100,000 people also went down from eight to six cases in the same period.
But the rate of assaults and disturbances increased by four per cent to 48 offences per 100,000 people in 2017 compared to 46 offences per 100,000 people in 2013. The rate of economic crimes, offences against morality and dangerous drugs offences also increased.