Crime differentials in metropolitan slum areas: an analysis of the city of Nairobi slums, Kenya
Ndikaru, Ndungu John
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Crime differentials in metropolitan slum areas: an analysis of the city of Nairobi slums, Kenya This research provides an in-depth investigation into the problem of crime in Kenya's capital city with specific reference to slums which are the epicenter of urban poverty. The overall objective of this study was to seek explanations of crime differentials in Nairobi slum ares, with a view of suggesting crime prevention strategies. The four major Nairobi slums considered for this study include Kibera, mathare, Korogocho and Mukuru. Whilst acknowledging the wider origins of crime differentials, very little has been focused on those that affect the urban poor. The present study attempts to fill this gap by doing a crime related study in the Nairobi slums. The major objectives guiding this study are: to identify and compare the types and causes of crime between the four slum areas in the City of Nairobi, to compare crime victimization within different demographic characteristics of Nairobi's slum residents, to assess the awareness, attitude and perceptions of safety as experienced by residents in the studied slum areas of Nairobi and to investigate crime mitigation strategies currently employed in the slum areas of Nairobi. The major theories considered were: Differentials association theory by Edwin Sutherland, which by the findings from this study have shown that youth unemployed is one of the major causes of crime. Social Disorganization theory by Clifford Shaw and Henry McKay which argues that slums where residents had more social organizations showed that they had lower rates of crime. Anomie theory by Emile Durkheim makes a contribution to this study that there is a possible that the different slums have different structural patterns that would regulate behaviour such as crime. The study employed both quantitative and qualitative method of data collection. The questionnaires and interview schedules for Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and key informant Interview were the key study insruments. For the quantitative part, a stratified random sample size of 660 respondents was used and was limited to persons aged 18 years and above. Four FGDs were done, one in each of the slums. The interviews were done between March and June 2007. The major findings of this study were that, even through structurally the four slums surveyed are social-demographically homogenous, the study confirms crime-related inter-slum heterogeneity. The study revels the existence of huge differences in the nature and typology of crime; victimization and vulnerability to crime profiles; safety perceptions and crime prevention between the slums. The occurrence and prevalence of specific crime types is different between the slums. Again, vulnerability to crime as revealed by the findings from this study shows that those likely to be affected by any type of crime differ between the slums. In terms of prioritizing the most effective crime prevention strategies this study shows that what is effective in one slum might not necessary work in another. The conclusion from the study are that slums have similar social-demographic characteristics but have varied levels and intensities of crime. This leads to a differentiation in safety perceptions and the choice of crime prevention is generic to all the slum areas. The second level would include slum specific strategies that would be championed by the slum community itself.