‘Big Brother’ watching over crime in Kenya

TRAFFIC-CAMERAS

It is on June 28, 2015, in Wood Avenue Towers within Nairobi, Kilimani area where the scene of crime is located. On this day, a resident who is an official of the Regional Centre on Small Arms (RECSA) – who cannot be named due to the nature of the case – is in Uganda on a work trip. He had no worry of thugs breaking into his house or any other crime related incident given the neighborhood.

But at about midday, a dark Nissan X-trail enters the compound and two smartly dressed men emerge as they leave it at the parking lot. “All the movements, as you can see are well captured by the CCTV cameras,” explains a senior detective privy with the case on anonymity grounds.

After a few minutes inside the vehicle, one man, who is seen carrying a parcel, some papers and a pen alights and directly heads to his target, a house on the 3rd floor of the apartment bloc. His accomplice, who in the CCTV footage is seen pretending to be on phone, shortly follows him, to go and execute their mission. A mission that would see the RECSA official robbed Sh16,250,000.

“Unfortunately, the CCTV camera’s had not been mounted in the rooms areas besides the main entry points,” the detective laments.

After 30 minutes, the two men, in a similar way head back to their vehicle, but this time loaded. After breaking into the house, “they took several expensive electronics including 2 laptops, a hard disk drive, watches, an MLT software among other things.” The two criminals later, cautiously leave the apartment, unaware that the ‘Big Brother’ was watching.

Police were to be informed of the incident later on.Once the case was reported, CID officers in Nairobi got the footage from the management of the apartment which they retrieved ahead of a two week hot pursuit of the “two known criminals.”

The cops reached out on the registrar of motor vehicles to establish the owner of the vehicle in a bid to zero in on the two suspects.

“It is at this point that we established that the vehicle was from a hiring company,” the police pointed out saying this stage; they also got the director’s contacts and ID number.

The director further linked the cops to the managers who were required to establish who had hired the vehicle on the date of crime. Unfortunately, the two suspects had used a middle man to hire the car for one week, during which they were to carry numerous breaking, within Nairobi high-end areas.

“The well-known middle man (to the hiring firm) gives details of his ‘clients’ whom we found out were the criminals,” the officer explained.

The trailing leads police to one of the suspect’s home in Tassia area in Embakasi whom they arrest together with his accomplice. Two hundred and sixty assorted ‘master-keys’ are recovered during the incident, pliers among other breaking tools.

The two suspects are currently on a Sh500,000 bond.

It is just an example of a success story of police using technology to track down criminals but some people feel more needs to be done, for the war on crime to be won. Capital FM News decided to randomly interview members of the public, on whether the perceived drop in cases of crime in Nairobi is attributed to adoption of modern technology by the National Police Service.

“It’s either police ignore some cases since people are still being killed even where the CCTV’s are mounted or they are not working,” George Ouma, a resident of the city says. Another says that, “more needs to be done. It can only have a positive impact if police successfully arrest criminals and recover the stolen items. Police should even stop it from happening if at all the CCTV cameras are working.”

According to Griffin Luke Awino, “Guys tend to fear engaging in criminal activities because of the fear of being caught on camera but unfortunately no case of criminal act has been successfully handled by the authority after viewing the clips. It (the CCTV’s) has done little; they are just like trophies – white elephant project.”

Sheillah Ngetich, a resident of Kericho County says that, “it is true crime has drastically reduced but the government needs to invest more in the sector. The CCTV’s are only in a few areas. Majority of Kenyans also don’t have them in their residences.”

“A place like Kimathi Street-Jamia Mosque-Nation Centre area used to have serious day light robberies which have reduced. Not sure whether it is CCTV or more cops,” a resident of Nairobi, who did want to be named stated.

Police are also yet to arrest the killers of controversial businessman Jacob Juma despite retrieving crucial data from CCTV cameras mounted in some of the routes he used on the fateful day.

Technology is a necessity that no security apparatus can work without in a modern society where every bit of life has become sophisticated.

Kenya, just like any other country in the world has its good share of insecurity that ranges from “normal crime” and worse enough, terror attacks that have claimed hundreds of lives the worst being the April 2, 2015 Garissa University College attack that left 148 people dead.

Crime may not be fully eliminated but can be curbed or cases reduced if the right tools and measures are put in place, according to Police. Nairobi Police boss Japheth Koome share the sentiments saying the use of technology, “has made our work easier. We are now getting real-time information from the CCTV’s.”

Kilimani Division Criminal Investigation Officer (DCIO) Phyllis Kanina also says increased police mobility and presence has helped in the war against crime. “There are more police officers being deployed in all areas than before,” The tired excuse of ‘no fuel’ is no longer viable for the Kenyan cops who are now using leased vehicles, which are well serviced.

– The Police IC3 Programme Works, Read more->Kenya Fights Insecurity with Technology

The Integrated Command, Control, and Communication (IC3) was commissioned in May 2015 in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu. The overall aim of the IC3 is to improve the National Police Service’s operational efficiency by deploying new hardware using up-to-date technology that will enable the Police to adopt more efficient working practices and new operating concepts.

In progressing towards greater efficiencies, one of the IC3 aims is to bring together various elements of National Police Service operation to work as a more unified team. The IC3 operations have integrated the Command, Control, and Communication functions through the following service areas: Emergency Call Centre (ECC), Dispatching Centre (DC) and Critical Incident Management Suite (CIMS).

ECC handles all incoming and outgoing public trunk calls in wake of emergency while DC dispatches, monitors and support operational resources efficiently and in a timely manner. CIMS role is to, “proactively and intelligently monitor the public spaces.”

It also plans and manages all the pre-planned and spontaneous major events, “through a defined escalation process to contain and manage a situation or an event through a clearly defined command structure.”

It further contains integrated tools that merge information in an environment that provides leadership quick and accurate data to evaluate situations.

Still on CIMS, police can easily track down a vehicle through the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) Control System.IC3, according to police, has helped in reducing cases of crime in the three major cities in the country.

 

Source: Capital FM-> capitalfm.co.ke/news/2016/06/big-brother-watching-crime-kenya/ …

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