By Kissa Micheal
“I congratulate our science team for demonstrating that we now have the eyes to see all the goings on in the telecommunication and financial service. No more games. This capacity will be extended to deal with the criminal pigs that have made it a hobby to kill Ugandans. They will pay,” president Museveni said in his clarification message on the recently established social media and mobile money taxes.
Lately, the news from Uganda on crime has been troubling. Rising crime rates have come to dominate the national
narrative, as murder, robberies and kidnappings have raised alarm among average citizens and elites alike. In the middle of this general insecurity, a number of apparent targeted assignations of prominent figures in politics and security services are fodder for the rumors about motives, plots and intrigues that swirl around social media.
However, some new models of community policing such as in the upscale Muyenga community of Kampala are providing an innovative solution to local crime while offering meaningful employment to some local residents.
Uganda is experiencing an estimation of 62% crime, according to the European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control International Statistics on Crime and Justice.
However, while the causes of crime are complex, some of the key reasons for crime today are poverty, need for money,envy, anger,vengeance, decay of family values, parental neglect, desire for control, and the need to hold and retain political and executive offices.
Another reason may be the growing idle and redundant youth in communities as a result of high unemployment rates.
In some cases, people commit crimes for self-serving reasons and at times to do harm, while others are planned for vengeance.
According to Mr. Maseereka Abdul, a lecturer at Makerere Business Institute, poverty is the major cause of crime in Uganda.
“Most Ugandans are driven to desperation and frustration by poverty,” he said.
Muyenga community policing through the so-called “com pol”has been able to curb the increasing crime in the Muyenga neighborhood through the local councils.The model brings together the people and the police as a mechanism of joint crime fighting.
Community policing involves watching neighborhoods, scanning, analyzing problems and finding solutions before they happen.
The police operate alongside the public, wearing a public friendly uniform color that is either blue or white. The community police officers receive salaries just like typical police.
Police are required to give a weekly crime report to monitor their operation and enhance evaluation.
The community policy has a database of residents that has been used to setup checkpoints and search for screened service providers in the informal sector for jobs such as compound maintenance among others, making it possible members to earn a living while improving skills, hence reducing crime.
Mr. Omari Yasini, co-founder of the Muyenga community policy, said Uganda’s stability does not solely rest in politics, but financial and economic success also play a significant role.
“Given that Uganda has one of the youngest populations in the world, our people need a wholesome communities,” he added.
According to Mr. Edrisa Kyeyune, DPC Muyenga, community policing is of great benefit to the society and has eased police work through the cooperation between it and the community in terms of arrest, appeal, and resolving minor cases of crime.
Mr.Yasini however called upon the national police and the general public to accept and support community policing as a joint mechanism to fight crime.
Politics is often a serious cause of crime. Around the world, many political associations have their own mafia groups, which they use to manipulate and subjugate people. In Africa, political power is often misused to take advantage of weaker people.At times, the dissidence that arises out of such situations often forces the victims to resort to crimes, especially the youth.
According to Prof. Venensius Baryamureeba, crimes especially murders are on the rise due to unfair rulings and investigations of crime, conflicts and disagreements and inadequate education of the youth in regards to crime. He said that unfair or false rulings from court often cause people to enter a life of crime.
”It should clearly be noted that jails or prisons often make worse criminals out of people because of the conditions that exist there. There is need to promote a just and fair judicial system,” he added.
Whereas Uganda is struggling with crime, Latin America, one of the most crime-ridden areas in the world, has made strides against crime by treating violence and crime as a public health concern through the use of campaigns and technology to reach every child and family to reduce on criminal activities.
In Brazil, schools have advocated for the use of non violent language and communication to prevent the youth from coming out in gangs.
If Uganda could only adopt these measures then slowly by slowly and progressively curbing down the increasing crime rate would be easier.