Seated in the office in Kenya, my workmate comes in and asks me to lend her my phone. I plug out my earphone and hand her my phone rather bored by the abrupt halt off the discussion heating up on the Classic FM morning Kasheshe show with Maina Kageni and King’ang’i. My work mate Erica makes a call to a friend,
“Hi, I just lost my phone at the bus stop this morning……………..”
Erica then narrates the gory details of how she lost her recently acquired Samsung Galaxy Ace Advance in Kenya to a thief at the bus stop. She had been on call when someone suddenly hit her phone from behind. By the time she looked back to see who had done that, another thief of the same cohort had already picked the phone and disappeared into the multitude. Erica had saved up a whooping 27,000 Kenyan shillings of her peanut student stipend in Kenya to acquire the phone that she had been longing for, for a long time. Trying to cool her down, I tell her of a similar incidence where my brother got mugged on Chiromo road off the busy Waiyaki way in Nairobi and lost his Samsung Galaxy S II worth 45,000 Kenyan shillings to the thieves in Nairobi.
Phone theft is a very rampant crime in the streets of Nairobi. Just the other day, I almost fell victim to the same. A well dressed lady had opened the outer side pocket of my handbag whilst we were scrambling for a matatu in Nairobi on the crowded Umoja bus terminal along Ronald Ngala Street. Luckily I turned around and caught her before she could put her sticky hands into my bag pocket. The most shocking thing was how smartly she was dressed. Anybody would have passes her off as a normal woman going home after a long day in an office in Nairobi.
Another of my friends got pick pocketed at the Tom Mboya-Accra road junction in Nairobi town and lost her phone and cash. She was lucky enough to meet a friend who paid for her bus fare home.
Being on the streets of Nairobi requires one to be very alert and more so with items such as phones, purses and handbags. Being a crowded city, thieves can snatch your belongings and get into the crowds of people without a trace in Kenya. Areas such as Muthurwa and Gikomba in Nairobi Kenya need one to be extra careful. Thieves in Nairobi in Gikomba and Muthurwa are more “professional” and can even cut out the straps to your bag whilst still carrying it.
I would highly advise anyone not to make or receive any call in these high risk areas in Nairobi if possible. When answering a call in Nairobi, make sure that you are very aware and alert on your surroundings and especially those behind you. Carefully tuck in your phone in your bag or in pockets of a fitting trouser and most importantly, be alert! Lower Nairobi town areas from Riveroad in Nairobi are also a high risk area. Crowded areas in Nairobi such as Kencom, Ngara market and Tea Room in Nairobi should be avoided if possible. If you need to visit these areas in Nairobi, it is wise to be in the company of a friend or two. They will look out for you and warn you of any impending theft.