Crime rate shoots up by 18 percent - police

Inspector General of Police Martins Okoth-Ochola holds the report during the launch of the police annual crime report at Police headquarters in Kampala on February 22, 2023. PHOTO/ ISAAC KASAMANI

What you need to know:

  • IGP Martins Okoth-Ochola blames the rise in the number of cases to the reopening of the economy following the lockdown instituted to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Police registered an additional 35,000 cases in the last year compared to 2021, the 2022 annual crime report has revealed.
According to the report, a total of 231,653 cases recorded in 2022 compared to 196,081 the previous year.

The 18 percent increase in crime comes despite various measures put in place by the government to curb crime in the country which includes installing CCTV cameras.
While releasing the 2022 Annual Crime and Traffic Safety Report at Police headquarters in Naguru, Kampala yesterday, Inspector General of Police Martins Okoth-Ochola blamed the rise in the number of cases to the reopening of the economy following the lockdown instituted to curb the spread of Covid-19.

 “Out of the total cases recorded in 2022, 68,405 were taken to court, 26,749 were proceeded with while 136,499 are pending investigations,” Mr Ochala said.
The police chief noted that the number of cases successfully handled had improved compared to 2021 where 65,008 cases were taken to court, 61,095 not proceeded with and 70,978 were incomplete.
“This reflects a great improvement in cases taken to court by 5.2 percent,” he said.

Traffic offences up
Mr Ochola said there was an increase in common traffic offences registered by the Directorate of Traffic and Road Safety countrywide from 336,722 in 2021 to 456,993 last year.
“Road crashes increased by 16.9 percent from 17,443 in 2021 to 20,394 in 2022 where 3,901 crashes were fatal, 10,776 serious, while 5,717 were minor in nature,” he said.
The Director of Criminal Investigations, Mr Tom Magambo, said theft, narcotics, breaking-ins, land grabbing and child-related offences were the top five offences recorded in 2022.

Police reported 43,583 theft cases in 2021 compared to 61,508 in 2022, which reflected a 41 percent increase.                                                            
“Mobile phone thefts have seen a significant increase with 6,936 cases reported in 2022 compared to 4,143 in 2021, a 67.4 percent surge,” he said.
He added that the 2022 annual crime report saw a significant drop in political or electoral and media offences, with only 140 cases recorded to the police compared to 797 in 2021, representing an 82.6 percent decrease in this category of crimes.
Mr Magambo added that the focus in 2022 was to improve the quality of services that police offer, engage communities through community policing programmes, and develop the initial phase of digitalising processes for ease of tracking and analysis of crime trends.

He added that police registered a decrease in the cases of defilement with 8,960 recorded in 2022 compared to 14,430 the previous year.
“October 2022 saw the highest number of cases recorded with 20,964 cases, followed by September with 20,836 cases and July with 20,630 cases. On average, there were 19,304 cases reported per month,” he said.
Ms Rachael Odoi, the technical advisor at the Justice Law and Order Sector (JLOS), said statistics show a relative trend with increase in certain crime and decrease in others.
She cited defilement, which has been a main concern for the last five years but whose cases dropped last year.

“When we see a decrease in reporting, we would like to believe that we have a strategy in place and we are beginning to yield fruits and see this crime decrease.  We also noted that there are challenges where crime has increased particularly in the areas of narcotics, economic crime and violent crimes,” she said.
“Following the lockdown, there was increased use of digital platforms for the transfer of money, mobile banking, mobile money, this becomes a target area for crime and it’s the area where they need to pay more attention,” Ms Odoi added.

Crime distribution

Of the 183 police divisions/central police stations in Uganda, Old Kampala registered the highest number of cases with 4,314 followed by Katwe Police Division with 3,938 cases, Luweero Police Station with 3,902, Kamuli Central Police Station 3,268 and Kiryandongo Police Station with 3,179.