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Ministry of health

Security should be everyone’s concern

Isa Senkumba

Security should be everyone’s concern

Police Boss General Kale Kayihura

Police Boss General Kale Kayihura

While Uganda is generally viewed as a safe, allowing for a robust flow of illicit trade and immigration.

Rebel groups operate freely in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), posing a potential risk along Uganda’s western border.

The northern border with South Sudan has a limited security presence, and recent events in South Sudan have exacerbated an already challenging security situation. In addition internal crimes and insecurity are a threatening nightmare.

The crime rate in Uganda is very high and scaring. The crimes range from thefts all the way to terrorism. Crimes such as pick pocketing, purse snatching, and thefts from hotels and parked vehicles or vehicles stalled in traffic jams are common.

The most popular crime in the country with 32,958 reported cases in 2008 was thefts. In the same year only four cases terrorism were reported. On the same chart of crimes that take place in this country homicide was about number nine.

The threat of civil unrest, public protests, strikes, demonstrations, and political violence have been an issue. In this country politically or economically motivated demonstrations can surface with little or no warning.

The murders of over nine Muslim sheikhs and many other murder cases still pose a threat to the security of Ugandans.

Ethnic violence also still prevails. In July 2014 Uganda experienced a major conflict between two tribes in the west that left over 90 people dead and several more wounded. The conflict spanned over a large swath of land from Lake Albert to Kasese District, covering over 120 kilometers.

Over 40 ethnic groups live in Uganda and they all belong to certain regions of the country. Ethnicity also played a role in the protracted conflict in northern Uganda, where the Lords Resistance Army, led by Joseph Kony, committed violence since 1986.

Drug related crimes are also on the increase. The country is strategically located along a major narcotics transit route between Middle Eastern, Asian, and West African heroin markets, and the amount of drugs transiting Uganda is increasing.

Illicit narcotics transit Uganda for markets in Africa, Europe, and the U.S, primarily due to Uganda’s good airline connections between those markets and Asia. Cannabis is grown throughout Uganda and is rarely policed, allowing for large cannabis crops to flourish in remote rural areas.

The constitution of Uganda mandates government to protect its citizens and their property. It is sometimes unfortunate that an average Ugandan may not receive this protection.

Security is becoming an expensive luxury especially if you have to pay a security company a handsome figure of about 500,000 shillings per month to send you a night watchman at your home.

This is a figure that most Ugandans can’t afford. The police only arrive at crime scenes to rescue the criminals and not to help the victims of crime. This calls for vigilance from citizens themselves to give a hand in fighting crimes.

Police and security organs have to aggressively investigate burglaries. Traditionally, police and security organs do not investigate residential burglaries, preferring to save precious resources for more serious crimes. But it’s not as though criminals simply graduate from burglaries to more serious stuff.

Actually research shows that convicted burglars are found with already have long track records of serious offending. The broken windows policy suggests that small and first-time offenders must be punished heavily to ensure that they don’t graduate into big criminals.

Schools ought to take bullying seriously. Bullying used to be perceived as a natural part of growing up, a way to toughen kids up to face the harsh realities of adulthood. But being bullied leads to truancy and dropping out of school, which are associated with delinquency and a host of bad outcomes.

School policies should be designed to combat bullying and also help students respect each other and other people’s property. By doing so, we can create a generation of better-adjusted kids, law abiding and responsible citizens.

There is need to start ‘Citizens Safety Projects’. These are joint effort projects between private citizens and local police. These organizations don’t require frequent meetings and they don’t ask anyone to take personal risks to prevent crime.

They leave the responsibility for catching criminals where it belongs – with the police. These groups gather citizens together to learn crime prevention from local authorities.

You cooperate with your neighbors to report suspicious activities in the neighborhood, to keep an eye on homes when the resident is away, and to keep everyone in the area mindful of the standard precautions for property and self that should always be taken. Criminals avoid neighborhoods where such groups exist.



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