During the week one of my staff was robbed. The thief (or thieves) got into the compound, even though it was guarded by two security guards, climbed up to the first floor and managed to open a window. They went through all the drawers and bags they could find, picked out the valuables and packed them in a small rucksack. Two girls were sleeping in the bedroom next door and, not satisfied with what they had found already taken, they checked out the bedroom. There they saw the girls asleep with their phones on their beds beside them and one phone attached to a charger. So the thief had to unplug the phone and remove it out of the girl’s hand. The other girl had got up earlier in the night to use the bathroom and check the time on her phone. When she woke later she tried to check the time again but could not find her phone. ‘That’s funny’ she thought ‘It must have fallen down’. It was only in the morning she realized it had been stolen. The thieves had removed the television from its stand, but it must have proved too difficult to carry since they then left the TV sitting in the middle of the floor.
The thieves picked the lock of another apartment and stole a laptop. Someone else in the apartment block had returned late and forgotten to lock the door so the thieves simply walked in and helped themselves to a laptop. During this time the dogs were barking and woke up other residents, but the guards remained fast asleep. Another resident looked out the window and noticed that there were some boda boda guys outside the compound – apparently pretending that their boda boda had broken down. When the robbery was reported the next morning, the police where very helpful and a police officer took a statement and brought a crime scene officer to dust for fingerprints. When the officer heard that the phones had been stolen out of the girls’ hands he said that was nothing, he knew of a case where the thieves had removed the wedding ring from a person’s finger while he slept.
For insurance purposes a police report was needed, but unfortunately the first police officer had handed over the file to another officer who was not so efficient. Payment of 63,500 shillings was made to the bank for the official police report, but the officer also asked for 50,000 shillings ‘facilitation’ to get the report completed. Then there was a new story every day as to why the report was not ready. He seemed to be milking the opportunity or else he was incompetent. The security company was also to blame since the guards were asleep and no supervisor had checked on them during the night. Vigilance was lacking all round, both by the security guards and the residents who had become lax.
There are an increasing number of robberies of late and some have resulted, not only in loss of property but loss of life, so we all need to be alert. Prevention is better than cure and improved security acts as a deterrent to opportunistic thieves. The police are a mixed blessing: there are some good officers and some hopeless ones – the first guy was very professional but the second officer was making life more difficult for everyone. When a crime has been committed and people are already traumatized, things are made worse by a police officer trying to profit from their trauma.
There seems to be a ready market for stolen laptops and mobile phone because these are the items that are stolen most frequently. But newer phones, (especially i-phones) have increased security measures that make them difficult to break into. Therefore thieves are stealing phones that are useless to them. The owner of such a phone has a code that can deactivate the phone and then erase it, so no matter how good the hackers are they cannot reactivate it. Unfortunately they continue to steal such phones and try to ransom them back to he owners. As well as being vigilant about security it is also wise to insure one’s valuables. In this case some of the laptops and phones were insured, but some were not. Insurance is one of those intangibles that people often feel brings no benefit – until they get robbed.
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