Lockdown crime: 10 murdered per day

According to police, up to 73 people were killed – many through mob justice – in the past week alone, giving an average of 10 murders per day.

Murder cases have continued to rise per week despite the subsisting 42-day lockdown, fuelled by domestic violence, reduced security patrols and a distressed population.

According to police, up to 73 people were killed – many through mob justice – in the past week alone, giving an average of 10 murders per day.

The total fatality count is higher by five from the total murders registered with law enforcement in the preceding week.

The new statistics also suggest that homicide cases per day are about to reach the pre-pandemic levels where an average of 13 people were killed daily.

Like in the previous week, mob action contributed the highest number to murder cases. At least 24 people have been killed in mob action in a fortnight.

Mr Fred Enanga, the police spokesman, said homicide cases were registered most in Kampala Metropolitan Police North, Albertine region, Savannah region and Rwenzori.

“Cases of mob actions are still high. We urge members of the public to stop taking the law in their own hands. They should report cases to the police. We also registered six deaths due to domestic violence in the same week,” Mr Enanga said yesterday.

He said many victims of mob action were innocent, but they were lynched because they were suspected to be witches, thieves and land grabbers.

Although the police haven’t done a clear analysis on why murders have continued to rise despite curfew guidelines, the deployed personnel in the second lockdown number fewer than those that patrolled the country last year.

The Uganda People’s Defence Forces scaled down on the number of soldiers and Local Defence Unit (LDU) personnel patrolling the community after the general elections. 

Most villages are now patrolled by police officers, whose presence on the ground across the country is razor thin.

The volume of crime, especially violent incidents, had reduced due during the first lockdown last year. Last year, homicide cases dropped by 5.4 per cent from 4,718 cases in 2019.

However, deaths due to domestic violence increased by 16 per cent last year from 360 cases to 418, according to police annual crime reports.

“A total of 440 people were killed as a result of aggravated domestic violence, of whom, 213 were male adults, 169 were female adults, 33 were male juveniles and 24 were female juveniles as compared to 373 people killed in 2019 as a result of domestic violence, of whom, 175 were male adults, 141 were female adults, 37 were male juveniles and 20 were female juveniles,” the 2020 crime report stated.

Mr Enanga said they will deploy more personnel in several areas and also enforce the curfew guidelines to ensure that criminals aren’t given room to operate at night.

The government imposed a 42-day lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus and prevent a scenario of patients overwhelming health facilities.

In the same week, 2,180 people were found violating curfew guidelines. 

At least 600 people were taken to court while 1,280 were released after caution because they were first offenders.

Cars impounded

At the start of lockdown police impounded 1,130 vehicles of which 600 were released after the motorists paid Express Penalty Scheme (EPS) tickets. Another 355 vehicles were released after the drivers were cautioned. Traffic records also showed that there was a drop of motorcycles impounded. Last week, 3,348 motorcycles were impounded. At least 2,000 of them were released after the riders paid EPS tickets. Mr Enanga said the law enforcement officers have seen increase of passengers resorting to using motorcycles.