Assessing the Sociopolitical Security Determinants of Crime Incidents in Kenya: A Case of Kibera Informal Settlement, Nairobi City County
Mbogo, Andrew Muturi
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Safe and comfortable dwelling is a desire of every individual whether in the formal or informal settlements. However, most studies indicate that people in informal settlements like Kibera tend to experience insecurity and crime incidents more often than those in the formal settlements. Kibera slum is not only the largest informal settlement in Africa and the second largest in the world but it is also associated with a high number of crime incidents, especially at the peak of political activities in Kenya. This trend has drawn considerable concern from the government of Kenya over the years and several strategies have been established to restore security and social wellbeing of the citizens residing in this area. For instance, the government through security agencies has supported community policing initiatives and “Nyumba kumi” initiative. However, it is not clear whether such initiatives have yielded notable results. Lack of notable results may be attributed to different factors including misdiagnosis of the security problem. It is for this reason that this study was undertaken to establish possible sociopolitical and security determinants of crime incidents in Kibera informal settlement. Particularly, the study endeavored to identify the extent to which social factors, political factors, public perceptions of police, and crime prevention strategies contribute to crime incidents in the informal. The study was guided by two theories namely; social disorganization theory and conflict theory of crime. Cronbach’s Alpha and expert opinion were used to assess reliability and validity of the research instruments respectively. Descriptive survey design to aid collection of primary and secondary data was applied. The study used a combination of stratified and random sampling techniques to get 450 respondents consisting of 384 residents of Kibera and 66 police officers from the local police stations. Data was collected through self-administered questionnaires after which Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) was employed to facilitate analysis of the collected data. Means, standard deviations, percentages, and correlations among other statistical approaches were used to present the analyzed the data. Significant correlation was established between the four sociopolitical and security factors (social factors, political factors, public perception of police officers, crime prevention strategies) and crime incidents in Kibera informal settlement. Crime prevention strategies and social factors were established to have the greatest impacts (β4= 0.3779, p < 0.0019) on crime incidents in the sampled settlement. This was followed by social factors (β1= 0.3726, p < 0.0028), public perception (β3= 0.1007, p = 0.0300), and political factors (β2= 0.0408, p = 0.0028) in that order. Therefore, crime incidents in Kibera are determined to a great extent by the crime prevention strategies employed by the police officers in the area. There are minimal links between political factors and crime incidents. These findings informed multiple recommendations to policy makers and researchers. For instance, government agencies are advised to increase holistic crime prevention efforts as a matter of priority. The strategies should include sociopolitical concerns of the residents for them to be effective in curbing insecurity and crime incidents. Researchers should also undertake additional studies on other determinants of insecurity and crime incidents which are beyond the scope of the current study.