Secretary General- KUJ Ezekiel Mutua, Chair- Kenya Union of Journalist, Tervil Okoko, City Council of Nairobi representative- Engineer Njoroge, members of the press, distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.
- It is with great pleasure that I address the Press today to announce UN-HABITAT partnership with the Kenya Union of Journalist in support of the Nairobi Crime Prevention Strategy.
- Crime is of primary concern to the daily life those who live in the city and UN-HABITAT is committed to continue its support to the Nairobi City Council and the city residents in their quest for long term responses to urban violence.
- In a city where, in 2001, 30% of households were burglered and 37% of residents robbed, crime rates present a tremendous threat to lives, property, and security.
- The consequences of urban crime and violence are multiple. Crime generates a feeling of insecurity that spirals distrust, intolerance and violent reactions.
- Violence creates a culture of suspicion and divides cities. It makes cities inefficient and unproductive as well as unequal and intolerant.
- The urbanisation process today is accompanied by an increase of crime and violence in cities and towns world-wide. But crime is not an automatic product of city development. Crime and violence have social and institutional causes. It is our inadequate social policies and our insufficient management capacity which leads to crime and the increase of violence.
- Among the social causes, social exclusion plays the most important role.
- Institutional causes refer to the incapacity of the criminal justice system to address crime and also to the lack of a proper, constant and coherent strategy involving all concerned authorities.
- If we understand the causes of crime, we realise that repression alone cannot achieve much, particularly on the long term, since the reasons why crime exists in society should also be addressed.
- In a city, to counter crime and fear of crime, the development of sound crime prevention practices and policies is of key importance.
- Lessons learnt from other cities in the world indicate that two elements are essential to face crime from the institutional standpoint. Firstly, partnership among different actors, public and private, and the residents.
- And secondly, accountability. Where those responsible for implementing a strategy are not fully accountable, there is very little chance to establish an efficient law enforcement policy.
- This is why addressing urban crime generally requires institutional reform, partnership, and participation in decision-making processes which should enhance citizenship and inclusion.
- UN-HABITAT, in collaboration with the City Council of Nairobi has been assisting the development of a partnership based approach to crime prevention in Nairobi, with UNDP support.
- The role of the media in facing the challenge posed by crime in our cities cannot be overestimated. Crime constitutes a major item of media reports and stories and the impact of the media on public perception of crime and of responses to crime is enormous.
- We believe that with the Media as a partner in the fight against crime and for sound and accountable crime prevention practices in the city, the battle can be won.
- We need a Media that monitors the implementation, that reports the successes and the failures, and that analyses the causes of crime with more depth and attention.
- We need a Media that can resist the fascination of the violent reaction to crime and uphold human rights and we need a media that is conscious of their direct impact on residents life and feelings.
- The promotion of a participatory approach to crime reduction and prevention will greatly benefit from better information and monitoring.
- The media continues to gain importance, as the world becomes more globalised and more urbanised and finding solutions to crime and violence is a specific challenge we wish to pose to the Media, since it is a major challenge for our city, Nairobi
- If we can take responsible action, our cities can be places of dignity, safety, happiness and hope.
- The recently concluded city-wide resident's convention was one of the required steps. The Convention agreed on the establishment of a City-wide Coalition on Crime Prevention and a 2 year community-based co-ordinated action plan. The role of the media in combating crime was one of the recommendations of the convention last month.
- It is this regard that a Media Strategy, has been developed and that we enter into this partnership with Kenya Union of Journalists.
- We aim to acclaim and honour members of the media fraternity who have excelled in combating crime and promoting urban safety, and it is my sincere hope that this initiative can be reproduced in other countries.
- We look forward to learning positive lessons when we will be analyzing the impact of the first award scheduled to take place on 27 January and just before the next award in December.
- On behalf of UN HABITAT, I wish you success in your applications.