• Sun. Jan 29th, 2023

Do Hawkers in Residential Areas Pose a Security Risk?

UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | The number of hawkers in Kampala’s suburbs has increased, risking the security of the surrounding neighbourhoods.

At the beginning of November 2022, two suspected robbers attacked Phionah Namulondo, a banker, at her home in Butenga, Kiira Municipality.

She claims they scaled the perimeter wall of her house, leapt into the complex, and pulled out her Mercedes-Benz headlights.

“I reported the matter to the Police, but I suspect that hawkers are behind this because a day before the headlights were taken, two young men found me opening the gate and they told me they were selling a free-to-air TV decoder at sh100,000. Since, I was in need of it, I bought it,” Namulondo narrates.

Namulondo requested them to assist her at a cost because she did not know how to install the decoder and its antenna.

They went around the house while erecting the antenna to obtain a precise signal direction.

“My maid was surprised to see them moving closer to the perimeter wall behind the house, wondering whether they had to move that far to get the signal. She noticed one of them touching the perimeter wall and they later both moved to the front of the house, installing the antenna at the entrance of the sitting room,” she narrates.

The thieves, according to Namulondo, scaled the perimeter wall behind her house, leapt into the complex, and vandalised her car at night.

“I suspect that these men who were masquerading as hawkers stole my headlights. Though I reported the case to the Police, I am still worried that they could come back. I have noticed an influx of hawkers in Kiira, moving up and down in big numbers. I do not know why the Police is ignoring the surge in their numbers,” Namulondo says.

With such occurrences increasingly being recorded at various Police stations, there is rising worry in towns and neighbourhoods that hawking poses a security risk in homes.

Some property owners and rental tenants have been prompted to install signs on their main gates telling hawkers not to enter.

Food, fruits, clothing, shoes, and technological goods are among the products sold by hawkers. They start their day as early as 7:00 a.m. in the city suburbs, passing via Rubaga, Natetete, Banda, Kireka, Najjera, Namugongo, and Kira.

Hawking, according to some security experts, is a profitable business; the only problem is that some of them are not trustworthy business people.

As a result, residents in these locations should exercise caution, according to Charles Rwomushana, a security specialist.

Rwomushana further mentions that when hawkers enter residential neighbourhoods, they hunt for items that may be readily stolen from the complexes. Or they vanish with tiny objects found in residences.

“Homeowners should be alert and avoid placing handbags and wallets on tables or in chairs where they are easily targeted,” he says.

Ibrahim Kasozi, a landlord with rental properties and a former Makindye east MP, believes the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) should consider providing hawkers with uniforms.

“They should be registered and given uniforms. This will help the Government to curb crime in residential communities, because, with the country’s high unemployment levels, it will be difficult to stop hawking,” Kasozi advises.

How You Can Prevent Burglary

Don’t Tempt a Thief

Valuables such as Lawnmowers, barbecues and bicycles are best stored out of sight and ensure to always keep your garden sheds, garages and all doors and windows locked whether you are in the house or outside.

Avoid leaving valuables in plain view: (GPS devices, laptops, PDAs, cell phones, MP3s, wallets, purses) or if you have a car, don’t leave your car keys or valuables in the car while inside the house.

Do not leave out items with personal information.

Work on the Exterior Security

Have adequate exterior lighting and install a motion-sensitive light which is most recommended for backyards. Trim trees and shrubs so that they cannot be used as hiding places for intruders.

Never leave keys under doormats, flowerpots or other “secret” hiding places — burglars know where to look for hidden keys.

Don’t use pushbutton locks on doorknobs because they are easy for burglars to open and remember, sliding glass doors are also vulnerable. Install deadbolt locks on all your outside doors and have your door hinges on the inside.

Use Alarms

An alarm system with cameras is excellent for home security. It provides peace of mind to homeowners, especially while on vacation. If you have a home alarm system, use it!

Activate your alarm system. Many individuals have alarm systems but do not arm them because it is inconvenient. Many burglars know this and will not be deterred by a window sticker or sign indicating that the home has an alarm system.

Be a Good Neighbour.

If you notice anything suspicious in your neighbourhood, call the police immediately.

Make it Unpredictable

Never share your vacation plans on social media. Make your home look occupied or at least have someone attend to your home when you’re away.

Service Deliveries

Avoid inviting so many people, known or unknown to your home, one of them may be a thief or in close relations to a thief. All services like mowing the lawn, painting, plumbing, newspaper, mail and food deliveries should be done while you are around.

Conclusively, reduce the chances of having a burglary in your home or vehicle by being the eyes of your neighbourhood and reporting any suspicious activity you see.

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