On October 9, Busia District Police Commander (DPC) Eriya Elepot and local residents commanded an operation in Busia District to recover a sky blue Toyota Vitz that had been stolen. Surprisingly, the car had been stolen from Makindye Division in Kampala.
One of the whistleblowers, Ali Abudallah suspects that the stolen car could have been on its way to Kenya through the Malaba Border.
“The car belonged to one of my friends who works and lives in Kampala. At the time I was informed, they (friend) could see the vehicle movement on a vehicle tracking system. After the tipoff, I informed the police and mobilised the community and residents in Busia to be on the lookout for the car,” Abudallah narrates.
“As a community, we acted fast because when the car crosses the border into Kenya, it is very hard and sometimes impossible to track it back to Uganda unless there is cooperation with the Kenyan authorities. Sometimes these efforts are in vain because there are many people who have lost cars in a similar manner,” Abudallah adds.
Motor vehicle theft trends
According to the Uganda Police 2018 Annual crime report, a total of 1,200 cases of thefts of motor vehicles were reported in 2018 compared to 1,442 cases of 2017.
A total of 253 cases were taken to court, out of which 51 cases secured convictions. According to the report, six cases were acquitted, 33 cases were dismissed and 163 cases were still pending in court, while 682 cases were still under inquiries by the end of 2018.
Theft of motor vehicles per region
The report also reveals that most vehicles were stolen from the regions of Kampala Metropolitan South which registered the highest with 256 cases, followed by Kampala metropolitan North with 239 cases and Kampala Metropolitan East with 191 cases.
Rwizi region, which comprises of areas such as Ibanda, Isingiro, Kiruhura, Mbarara and Ntungamo registered 57 cases while 44 cases were registered in Kiira. Greater Masaka registered 40 cases while Elgon and West Nile tallied with each registering 38 motor vehicle thefts, while Ssezibwa registered 36 cases and North Kyoga with 34. It should be noted that all regions of Kampala Metropolitan, Greater Masaka, Rwizi, North Kyoga and West Nile were leading in motor vehicle thefts in 2017.
Thefts per district/division
The report reveals further that Katwe Division in Kampala from where Abudallah’s friend’s ToyoTa Vitz was stolen, registered the highest motor vehicle thefts with 90 cases. It was followed by Kiira Road Division with 67 cases.
Old Kampala Division registered 60 cases while Wandegeya and Central Police Station Kampala Divisions registered 51 cases each.
Jinja Road Division had 49 cases while Kabalagala Division registered 45 cases, Kawempe Division 41 cases, Jinja 40 cases, Kira Road Division and Mbale 36 cases each while Mukono Division registered 35 cases. The report concludes that car thefts have been prevalent in all divisions of
Kampala Metropolitan for the last two years.
In the 2017 Uganda Police Crime Report, a total of 1,442 cases of thefts of motor vehicles were reported from January 1, to December 31 2017 compared to 1,461 cases in 2016, giving a 1.3 per cent decrease.
The 2017 report further revealed that most motor vehicles were stolen from the regions of Kampala Metropolitan Police (KMP) South which registered the highest with 354 cases, followed by KMP North with 248 cases, KMP East with 180 cases, greater Masaka registered 81 cases, Rwizi registered 62 cases, Wamala and West Nile 52 cases each, Kiira registered 47 cases, Albertine region 45 cases, North Kyoga had 40 cases and Aswa with 32 cases.
All regions of Kampala Metropolitan Police, Greater Masaka, Rwizi, Aswa and West Nile were leading in this category in the last years.
CPS Kampala Division registered highest with 104 cases, followed by Katwe (101 cases), Kawempe (69 cases), Kabalagala (60 cases), Wandegeya (54 cases), Jinja Road (52 cases), Kira Road (50 cases), Old Kampala (46 cases), Kajjansi (40 cases), Kira Division and Jinja (39 cases), Mbarara (37 cases), Kyotera and Kyankwanzi with 34 cases each among others.
Safe guarding your car
Despite the motor vehicle theft trend having reduced by a slight 1.3 per cent in 2017, it is still recommended to take precautionary measures to safeguard your car.
Patrick Onyango, the spokesperson of Kampala Metropolitan advises that to safeguard your car, if you take it to a washing bay, never leave the car keys with the washing bay attendant because they can be duplicated.
“Park your vehicle at a parking lot where there is reasonable security. If you are to park at a night or day parking yard, make sure that the management takes responsibility in case your car goes missing. If you park your car where it is your risk, it means you will have given it away yourself. Drive away until you get a secure parking place,” Onyango adds.
You can also safeguard your car using a mobile phone mechanism that allows you to block fuel supply to the engine so that it does not start if someone without your consent tries to start the engine. A tracking device Installed in your car is also of help because it helps you monitor the movement of your car, once stolen not later than 24 hours. At times these tracking devices are disenabled.