Is there a link between the rate of inflation and crime trends? Or between the increase in population in urban areas and crime? How about the country’s ever-increasing rate of unemployment, now at 40%, and crime? These are some of the questions that we sought to answer during a Security Forum hosted by Securex Agencies (K) LTD involving top security managers drawn from various hotels, hospitals, shopping malls, embassies and other corporate entities across Nairobi. The forum was hosted at the Jacaranda Hotel in Westlands on 14th April, 2016 and was headlined by a Crime Analysis presentation by the Securex Chief Operating Officer, Daniel Lemmer. The talk revealed the top crime trends in 2015, with armed robbery and theft alone accounting for 70% of the criminal incidents recorded in Nairobi within the Securex database over the past year.
The build-up to the 2017 General Elections will be a crucial period where much will depend on the strength and integrity of the country’s security systems. Mr. Lemmer emphasized the need for the political class to preach tolerance and for the country’s core security organs to increase vigilance and step up their surveillance networks on the ground.
“We have more or less the same players in the political arena as we did in the 2013 General Election. As has been witnessed from the recently-concluded by-elections in Kericho and Malindi as well as the botched Okoa Kenya initiative by the Opposition, there is a lot of mistrust around the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission. We could see country-wide demonstrations regardless who wins. We need to begin preaching the narrative of tolerance early. As players in the security industry we need to co-operate with Government to keep any tension in check,” said Mr. Lemmer.
Another opportunity for improvement that was highlighted during the forum indeed was co-operation between the Government and the Private Security Industry. Concern was raised over the current ratio of 1 Police Officer to 800 civilians, nearly double the UN-recommended ratio of 1 Police Officer to 450 citizens. The forum resolved, among other strategies, to build relations with the Government in order to utilize a network of around 450,000 security guards to increase the reach of the Kenya Police. Information-sharing, formulating early-warning systems and training were also identified as key strategies to tackle insecurity in the Capital.
“With better communication we can share the security solutions that have worked for us. We can work together to keep our work stations, employees, clients and, by extension, the general public safe. We have kicked off this resolution by holding this forum, and we hope it is something that will be picked up quickly,” said Mr. Lemmer.
The terror attack in Brussels, Belgium last month was also an eye-opener for Security managers across the world in how the aftermath was handled. Casualties of the despicable acts of terror were not handled at the site of the attack, but rather were evacuated to other facilities such as hotels to be stabilised as emergency response teams were mobilised. In light of this, participants of the Securex Forum were also taken through a medical first-responder drill that was intended to highlight the importance of training on First Aid and Incident Control for the workplace.
“Not only do we need to train our staff, we also need to conduct regular drills to keep ourselves on our toes. We might be enjoying a period of relative calm in as much as terrorism is concerned but this is due to increased surveillance and public awareness. This is not the time to rest on our laurels,” concluded Mr. Lemmer.