What you need to know:
- Ms Joyce Wanyenya, a food vendor in Mbale Central Market, said she retires early due to the growing insecurity.
- Mr Rogers Taitika, the Elgon region spokesperson, said police will deploy more officers to fight crime.
Residents of Mbale City have protested the delayed activation of closed-circuit Television (CCTV) cameras that were installed in crime-prone areas in June last year.
The cameras were installed in 32 areas, including Nkoma, Namakwekwe, Malukhu, Mooni, Namatala, Nakaloke and Nauyo-Bugema town councils.
The residents say there are increasing levels of crime, especially phone theft.
“We were excited when the cameras were installed, but they are still not functioning. We knew they would enhance safety and security,” Mr Geoffrey Mutoma, a resident, said on Wednesday.
Mr Mutoma accused the council officials of misappropriating the resources for the camera project.
“If the money is not misappropriated, why the unexplained stalemate? This is an indicator of corruption,” he said.
Mr Mike Mukoya, another resident, said lack of decisive intervention by the council leadership and police to combat the rising crime levels in the city, especially in the slums is worrying.
“Thugs break into people’s shops mostly at night and they steal merchandise but nothing is being done to arrest the criminals,” Mr Mukoya said.
“When police arrest some of the suspects, they release them. This is why we have increasing cases of theft and robbery,” he added.
An investigation by Daily Monitor last month found out that some of their outlets run by the dealers sell stolen smartphones and other electronic devices.
The places include Republic Street, Kikindu market, and Nkoma Trading Centre on the Mbale –Soroti road.
Ms Joyce Wanyenya, a food vendor in Mbale Central Market, said she retires early due to the growing insecurity.
“I close at 6pm so that I get home early. I have been ambushed on my way home three times by thugs. On one of the occasions, they took off with my money and phone,” she said.
Mr James Kutosi, the acting spokesperson Mbale City, said the CCTV cameras are yet to be connected, but dismissed allegations of misusing the funds meant for the project.
“The CCTV cameras will soon start operating. Let the residents be patient,” he said.
Mr Rogers Taitika, the Elgon region spokesperson, said police will deploy more officers to fight crime.
He admitted that crime cases in the city have been rampant.
Last month, Mr Taitika said they registered more than 30 cases of phone theft being committed by street children.
“We have so far tracked five phones and the culprits are being prosecuted, and also registered simple robbery cases, which happen during the rush hour in the busiest places,” he said.
Theft leading crime
According to the Annual Crime and Traffic Safety Report 2020, theft was the leading offence committed in the country with 41,950 cases contributing 21.4 per cent of all crimes registered. Theft was also the leading offence in 2019 with 55,704 cases. Police said the cases were mainly motivated by economic gains. By December, 16,421 cases were taken to court, with 5,257 cases securing convictions, 101 acquitted, 1,176 were dismissed and 9,886 still pending in court while 14,825 were still under inquiry.