Forty six percent Ugandans fill insecure, a new study by Human Rights Network Uganda – HURINET has revealed. HURINET undertook the study focusing on eight districts in Uganda involving 1242 respondents to gauge the public perception on the state of Policing in Uganda.
The districts included Kampala, Kayunga, Jinja, Masaka, Mpigi, Wakiso, Luwero and Mukono. During the study, respondents were asked about the safety of their communities and how secure or insecure they fill. According to the findings, 46 percent of the respondents in all the districts, said they are insecure, 32 percent felt safe while 21 percent neither felt secure nor insecure.
The variations of safety and security were observed to cut across the eight districts with 53 percent of respondents in Masaka and Kampala as well as 48 percent of the respondents in Wakisom, saying they were insecure. On the other hand, 56 percent of the respondents in Mukono, 43 percent in Mpigi and 38 percent in Kayunga, said they felt safe. The levels of safety across the eight districts were minimal.
Respondents in the urban based districts felt less secure compared to those in rural districts. “This perception was largely attributed to increase in crime related incidents in urban areas due to high unemployment rates, development of slum that habour criminals and emergency of criminal gangs and organized crime,” reads the report.
In general, the perception of lack of safety was largely attributed to developments such as increased levels of criminality in the country, particularly gun violence and emergence of criminal gangs that continue to terrorize members of the public without being apprehended by the police.
The survey also probed respondent’s levels of safety and security during day and night with varying results according to the time of the day. The findings reveal that 68 percent of the respondents felt insecure at night while 20 percent reported to be safe during day time. 54 percent said they were safe or unsafe during the day and 25 percent were neither safe nor unsafe during night.
The perception of lack of safety during night was much prevalent in Mukono and Jinja district where 90 percent and 74 percent of respondents respectively reported lack of safety. This was blamed on the criminal activities in the areas during night in form of robbery, house break-in and the difficulty that comes with being able to notice or detect offenders or criminals who take cover in darkness.
The perception of safety during the day was largely attributed to less likelihood of criminals to operate during day time. Patrick Tumwine, one of the lead researchers from the Public Interest Law Clinic (PILAC) at Makerere University Law School, says although the data collection was limited to eight districts mainly central and eastern Uganda, they mitigated this narrow scope through interviews with police management at the national level, especially heads of Directorates, Departments, and Units that are core to the functioning of Uganda Police Force.
Tumwine who is also HURINET’s the Advocacy, Research and Information Officer, says the report isn’t in any way targeting the police, adding that it is largely picking what the public thought about police in their areas in terms of its mandate.