Crime prevention and coping mechanisms in neighbourhoods: insights from Kibera, Nairobi

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Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, is known to have one of the highest crime rates in Africa (World Bank 2011). The crime situation in Kenya is exacerbated by high rates of poverty and an alleged ineffective, corrupt and under-resourced police force (UNODC 2005). Further, it is recognised that the lower-income population of Nairobi are disproportionately affected by crime and are at particular risk from robbery, theft, burglary and sexual violence (OECD 2011; World Bank 2011; MapKibera 2010; SRIC 2014). This article considers one area of Nairobi, a settlement called Kibera, and explores the community’s attempts to prevent particular crimes. It discusses the coping mechanisms, crime prevention strategies, and methods of informal social control that residents believe regulates deviance (Reiner 2000). The paper concludes by arguing that the mobile banking facility, M-PESA, provides lower-income populations in Nairobi with a crime prevention tool that removes the ‘cash reward’ (Clarke 1997) that offenders are primarily targeting victims for in Kibera, whilst other forms of crime preventing attempts appear to assist overall in controlling criminality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-121
JournalCrime Prevention and Community Safety
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2017


  • crime prevention
  • Community Safety
  • Africa
  • Coping mechanisms


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