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Armed Crime Takes on a New Face

  • Posted by: Lloyd Gitonga

While all the conversation around national security has been dominated by the August 8th polls, its aftermath and looking ahead to the re-run of the presidential polls next month, we’ve also been keeping an eye on matters safety across the country. As per our database, we’ve noted a downturn in crime both in Nairobi and countrywide over the past three months, a 14% decrease in activity to be exact.


However, of primary concern these past months has been the relatively high incidence of armed robberies. These have made up 12% of activity noted in Nairobi over the past three months. Armed robbery was also the second-highest recorded incident in our database both in June and August 2017.

We have, in the past, mentioned trends such as the use of motorcycles in armed crime which was particularly prevalent in September 2016, we have noted a few more patterns in the last three months:

  1. Causing an Accident:

“A group of armed carjackers blocked a fleet of vehicles along the Nairobi-Nakuru highway before making away with a new Nissan matatu. The thugs hit the vehicle from behind and when the driver alighted to examine the damage, they accosted him, bundled him into a waiting car and sped from the scene as another man took control of the matatu.” (29-May-The Star)



This particular trick has also been noted in Nairobi, with thugs becoming increasingly innovative in their tact.

  1. Use of Hired Helps:

A house help suspected of being part of a gang behind a spate of house break-ins was arrested by police. She was allegedly caught on CCTV as she helped two people gain access to a house where items valued at tens of thousands of shillings were stolen. The area police boss said the gang had hired many girls. He added that gang members had master keys and that most burglaries took place during the day. (31/08/2017-Daily Nation)

It is advisable to always be wary of hired helps around the house. You should consider only having trusted helps rather than having a different help over every week to do your laundry. You should also consider thoroughly vetting live-in house helps before hiring them, or better yet, rely on referrals from family and close friends. Lastly, be sure that hired helps do not work in your house without supervision.

  1. Drugging Victims:

“On interrogation, the woman confessed that she buys a drug called Dormicum, which she dilutes in water to make a thick paste that is then applied on chewing gum pellets.” (26/07/2017-The Standard)

What started out as a fun night for a young man ended quite tragically when he woke up the next morning to find his house emptied of all valuables. How did this happen? He was drugged using a substance called Dormicum, a prescription drug used by criminals to induce sleep and rob victims.

The suspect in this particular case, a 20-year old woman, admitted to purchasing Dormicum, diluting it and applying the paste on chewing gum pellets which she then offers to her victims. The drug is said to be powerful enough to knock a victim out for up to 12 hours.

  1. Use of Sleeping Gas:

“Residents of Kinangop in Nyandarua have raised concerns over a criminal gang that is believed to be breaking into houses by using sedatives to induce deep sleep among the occupants. Most attacks are said to occur between midnight and the wee hours of the morning. A number of locals reported waking up to find all their belongings stolen.” (Daily Nation-16 Aug)

Here’s another similar tactic which we have also noted being used in Baringo and Nyeri in late 2016, where victims reported being knocked out for hours and waking to an empty house the following day. Be sure that your windows are securely fastened before going to bed or leaving the house!

  1. Getting Innovative:

Last month, through our weekly briefing, we advised Nairobi motorists to exercise caution when approaching junctions, roundabouts or underpasses while driving late at night. This was after we noted an emerging trend where criminal elements devise innovative ways to dupe or force a driver into stopping their vehicle, only for them to accost and rob their victims.
Thugs have been reported to throw stones at vehicles, particularly around the Globe roundabout just outside the Nairobi CBD, in a bid to get drivers to stop. Criminals are also said to pretend to fall in front a moving vehicle, forcing the driver to slow down or stop altogether. It would also be advisable, should you spot someone in distress at odd hours, to report this to the police rather than stop to help them yourself.

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