Nairobi Police Commander Rashid Yakub has announced the creation of an anti-mugging squad to deal with rising incidents of robbery within the city.
Speaking during a media briefing on Wednesday, Yakub said the team will deal with cases of pick-pocketing, phone-grabbing, and other petty offenses that have become rampant within the CBD.
He said 11 suspects have been arrested in an operation carried out within the past 48 hours with police recovering several stolen items including 169 mobile phones, cameras, and over 25 laptops and desktop computers.
Yakub urged Kenyans who may have lost any of the recovered items in the recent past to go to the Nairobi Regional Police Headquarters opposite the Integrity House to identify their property by providing proof of ownership.
An officer, who cannot be named because he is not authorised to speak to the press, revealed that the muggings mainly happen in the CBD, Kayole, Buruburu and Kabete before the items are sold in downtown Nairobi mainly along Luthuli Avenue and Mfangano Street.
The police source said the dealers purporting to be electronic technicians buy them with the intent to flash and sell them to unsuspecting buyers.
“When we arrest them, they claim the gadgets were brought to them for repair but when we ask them to identify any of the owners, they don’t even have the owners’ contacts,” he said.
“We are telling them; if they are repairing the phones, they must record the owners’ phone and ID numbers and issue them with receipts so that they can prove they are in genuine business.
“We want to deal with the dealers who receive them from muggers and the muggers will stop because they will have nowhere to take them.”
A similar anti-mugging squad had been formed in January 2018 following a public outcry over increased cases of robbery in the city center.
At the time, Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko said the squad would intensify surveillance in the CBD and residential areas.
“We have responded to the rampant insecurity that has engulfed Nairobi and its environs by forming an anti-mugging squad that will work closely with regular police to combat this vice,” Sonko said in a statement.