Factors Contributing To Crime Among Male Urban Youth: A Case Of Pumwani-Majengo Ward, Nairobi Kenya.
The development of a nation depends on the health and productivity of a growing population. The health of the population also relies on the security of each individual to be able to effectively contribute to national development. The security issue in Kenya has been persistent since gaining independence but has taken different dynamics over the decades. The availability of small arms has led to an increase in violent crime more so in the major cities of the country compounded with the engagement of the youthful population in criminal activities. The study therefore sought to investigate the factors influencing youth engagement in robbery violence in Nairobi focusing on the urban of Pumwani-Majengo Ward. The study was guided by three specific objectives; to determine the types of criminal activities that youth are involved in Pumwani ward; to determine the influence of background, socio-economic and demographic factors on youth participation in crime in Pumwani ward and to identify approaches and strategies adopted to reduce youth participation in crime in Pumwani ward. The study was guided by the anomie-strain theory and the Marxist-conflict theory. The researcher adopted the descriptive research design to guide the study. The sampling technique adopted for the study was the cluster sampling technique. The data collection methods adopted were both quantitative and qualitative in nature, the questionnaire was administered to the youth while the key informant interviews were conducted among the religious leaders, administrative official, NGO representative and youth leaders. The quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive statistics while the qualitative data was presented in prose as obtained from the field exercise. In regard to the form of crimes that youth engaged in, armed robbery was cited as the most occurring. The use of weapons was meant to intimidate the victims and create fear for the victims and members of the community not to fight back. The engagement of youth crime in the Pumwani-Majengo Ward was found to have increased with relatively younger youth engaging in violent criminal activities. The study revealed that the youth engaged in crime were also under age, that is, below the age of 18 years. The strategy of community policing was mentioned as strategy that was implemented but wasn’t effective in addressing the crime issue. There was also mention of self-help programs that were initiated in the community that had positive impact f providing employment for youth thus reducing their idleness. The presence of NGOs activity to ameliorate the challenges facing youth was also mentioned. The researcher recommends that there be more cooperation between security agents and the community. Majority of the criminals were from the Pumwani-Majengo areas and from the study participants most of them were known. However, the confidentiality of informants wasn’t guaranteed by the police and the public were therefore reluctant to provide any helpful information. The study also recommends empowerment of youth who have dropped out of school or wayward youth to provide an alternative direction other than engaging in criminal activities. The engagement of the youth themselves in these initiative would be more productive rather than enforcing programs on the youth. The sentiments of hopelessness among the youth can be generated to positive energy through communication. According to study participant’s such issues as the victimization of youth was also a detriment to the efforts of reducing youth crime.