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POLICE: Car thefts in Kampala up again

Uganda Police has registered increased cases of car thefts in the outskirts of Kampala in the past month and has called for public vigilance.

Police identified Najjera, Kiwatule, Kisasi, Bahai, Lukuli- Nanganda, Namasuba Upper Hill, Kibuye- Ggaba, Kigoowa and Kigoowa  as high risk areas. According to police press officer Fred Enanga, cars were many times stolen for temporary transportation and also by those targeting valuable spare parts for sale.

Enanga said police plan to step up patrols. Eight suspects have been captured with 15 cars in a garage in the past week.

The police spokesman advised the public to be more vigilant with their personal property, improvise monitoring video surveillance, improve lighting around homes and along streets, prosecute offenders and promote sale of cars with in-built security systems.

“We want in addition, to warn those carrying bags, especially while returning home from work, and or revelers from entertainment places, to hold it against their body or wear the strap diagonally across the chest. ”

“To prevent a driver or ride-by bag snatch, pedestrians and passengers must stay vigilant at that stage of boarding a boda -boda or during price negotiations. They are also encouraged to use the opposite lane and face incoming traffic.  However, in the event that your bag is snatched let it go, as it may be impossible to fight the instinct to hold on, since one can seriously get hurt or dragged on the road.”

Police statement on list of of factors related to car thefts:
1.    Location – cars parked at single –family residences, on the streets and familiar neighborhoods are more likely to be targeted by criminals.
2.    Time. Thefts of and from cars in suburban areas generally occurs at night, when driving home, at main gate entrance  or while parked in the yards, as well as the fact that darkness provides cover for the thieves. During day, parking lots are vulnerable to thefts because many people use them. In addition, some special events also draw large numbers of vehicles to an area thus generating high volume of thefts from cars.
3.    Types of cars. In general older models of cars are often stolen, more than recent models because fewer of them contain in-built, anti-theft devices and thieves learn that particular models of cars are easier to steal than others. However new models may be targeted, if they contain components in great demand.
4.    Items targeted for theft. These include personal items and car components, Personal items that owners may leave in their cars like mobile phone, car stereos and accessories that can easily be traded for cash.

The main emphasis is to understand the environmental settings in which the theft occur and design solutions. Some of the effective solutions to prevent thefts include.
a)     Enforcement.
1.    Increasing patrols. This helps increase the risks to offenders and helps inform officers of risky locations in neighborhoods.
2.    Prosecuting offenders, especially repeat offenders
3.    Using “bait cars /motorcycles “to provide targets for thieves and a means for police to rapidly respond and apprehend offenders.
4.    Tracking stolen goods, to discourage thieves from selling stolen property.

b)    Effective response strategy.
5.    Promoting sales cars with inbuilt security systems.
6.    Promoting securely – designed neighborhoods where the police work with developers and planners in the design of the neighborhood
7. Educating patrol officers about theft patterns supported by reliable data and knowledge. This enhances officer’s abilities to detect and prevent car crimes.
c) Security
8. Improving lighting around homes and additional street lightings by local governments and urban authorities
9. Removing vegetation and other cover, increases the chances of the thief’s discovery.
10. Installing and monitoring video surveillance, increases offenders perceived risks of apprehension when cameras are visibly placed.
d) Education
11. Alerting car owners about theft problems and educating them about known risk factors and effective prevention.


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