How to Avoid House Burglary After Moving to a New Estate

  • A gunman in a balaclava
    A gunman in a balaclava
    File
  • Cases of people finding their houses broken into are rampant in Nairobi and other urban areas. More than once, Kenyans have shared stories on social media of how they went to sleep, only to wake up and find their houses 'swept clean'.

    In some cases, the people who steal from tenants turn out to be friends. We spoke to tenants, police and a landlady who shared lessons and tips to avoid being robbed.

    Robin Mwangangi, a resident of Mlolongo spoke to Kenyans.co.ke, and recounted how he was robbed by three women he met through mutual friends.

    Mwangangi stated he was invited by his friends to a popular entertainment joint in Mlolongo, where he met three women. They enjoyed meals and drinks, and when it was time to disperse, the women feigned to be stranded. They claimed they were scared of going home, saying they lived far; on the other side of town.

    The businessman offered to host them and gave them a place to sleep in his spare bedroom. His younger brother was at his house, and he did not mind company. But things turned ugly in the morning when Mwangangi woke up to find that his house had been burglarized.

    Revellers in a club
    Revellers in a club.
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    "My TV was missing, we had 3 phones in the house, laptops and other electronics, which got stolen. The microwave was not spared either. These women ransacked the house and took some money that was in my wallet," Mwanangi stated.

    "We lost items worth over Ksh300,000 in just one night. We reported the matter to the police and they were never arrested. The mutual friends who introduced us did not have an idea where they live," he added.

    According to the businessman, he was later informed by the club manager where he met the women that they work in collaboration with thugs who sell the items stolen in the black market.

    "I should not have brought strangers to my house. Please don't bring strangers to your house, even if they are with your close friends, let them get accommodated with the people who know them. This would have been worse because we were drugged. What if we lost our lives?" he posed.

    New Apartment, Tough Lesson

    A resident of Kasarani, Maryanne Wangari also recounted to Kenyans.co.ke how she returned home, only to find her house 'swept clean'. She had gotten a new job in Nairobi and had to relocate to the capital city from Mombasa.

    Her family members helped her look for a new house and Kasarani was highly recommended, since it was closer to her new place of work. Wangari got an apartment and bought new furnishings for her new cosy place.

    But eight days after moving to the new house, she returned home and found her house completely wiped clean. 

    "I returned home, and my door was partially open, the kitchen lights were on, which was strange to me because I was sure I had switched them off. I took my keys out, and as I was trying to reach my padlock, I realized the door was not locked," she stated.

    "I was shocked, I didn't even get in, I knocked at my neighbours' and told them my house is open, but I had locked the door in the morning. The man came out and marched towards my flat, and he pushed the door and switched on the lights, and my sitting room was empty."

    Wangari told Kenyans.co.ke the biggest mistake she made was not inquiring about the security of the apartment building she moved into. According to her, this was not the first case that had been reported.

    "My biggest mistake was not asking about the security of that specific apartment. There had been other cases reported, and the management also kept changing the caretakers often, and all manner of people would come and leave as they wished. I moved immediately after learning certain things," she stated.

    Inside Job

    Linah Adhiambo spoke to Kenyans.co.ke and explained how they were held at gunpoint in her home in one of the city's high-end estates. She recalls that the thugs were very specific on the items they wanted. 

    "My husband came home, and as the security was opening the gate for him, these people stormed in with guns. They ordered the guard and my husband in the house just as my children were finishing their homework."

    "My husband, our eldest son and the guard were tied up, and I was asked to give them all the money we had in the house. They took electronics and at gunpoint ordered me to open the safe, which I did. They stole very expensive jewellery and my husband's watches. They took laptops, phones and side mirrors from the cars," she stated.

    According to the Nairobi accountant, the events of that night left her children traumatized, and they had to spend a lot of money pursuing the case and replacing some of the stolen items. She, however, credits police for being aggressive in pursuing the thugs, but most of the stolen items were not recovered.

    She learnt the biggest lesson from that night do not trust people even employees and always change the routes when getting home. Don't have a specific routine and don't grant too much access to people who work in your house.

    A gunman in a balaclava
    A gunman in a balaclava
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    Report All Cases

    Julius Kiragu, the OCPD Starehe, notes that most burglaries are works of people who know their victims. He stated that the assailants usually study their targets and devise ways to rob them.

    Speaking to Kenyans.co.ke, the senior cop explained that most of the robberies are organized by workers who have access to some of these houses, adding that police have numerous times busted employees as the key masterminds behind the burglaries.

    "These are not lone rangers, they are people who have access to your house in one way or another. They study their victims and they know when you are home and when you are away. They have crucial information about you, and they know when to strike," the police boss stated.

    He encouraged Kenyans to do extensive research on where they are moving to and also ask neighbours about the state of security. Furthermore, the Starehe police boss advised city residents looking to employ workers to also seek documentation that shows who they are and also obtain information on how they can be traced.

    "I would encourage Kenyans, especially those who want to employ people who come knocking asking for jobs, to ask for identification to establish who they are. Don't just let people in your homes and have no idea who they are, and when things are stolen, and they disappear, you don't even know their real names," he added.

    Mr Kiragu explained that on various occasions they have arrested domestic workers and security guards for colluding with criminals to raid and rob homes where they work. 

    He also explained that it is crucial for victims of burglaries to report these incidents to the police, noting that if cops notice a pattern in a certain area, it becomes easier to track and arrest the culprits.

    Tight Security Non Negotiable

    A landlady Beatrice Muchiri, explained that as a property owner, she takes the security of her tenants seriously by taking various stringent measures to reduce theft.

    Muchiri said she has CCTV cameras installed in all her properties, and she has a team of security guards who record everyone that comes into the apartment buildings.

    Furthermore, she states that she has agreements with her tenants to announce to the security if some of their guests will be spending more than five days at their houses.

    "I take security very seriously because a person's home is their sanctuary and safe space, and I value my clients very much. We have planned to install CCTV cameras and have a very serious team of security guards who patrol the property day and night," she stated.

    "We also change the security guards because we work with agencies. We don't want one person staying at a location for a very long period of time and figuring out tenants schedules, this could be dangerous."

    But Muchiri maintains that the reason why she has a loyal customer base is that she deals directly with her tenants, and now they can count on her to solve issues at her various properties around Nairobi and Machakos counties.

    She advises tenants to desist from leaving keys with strangers or even neighbours. Muchiri also notes that tenants should report suspicious people, roaming near their houses.

    For fellow landlords, the property owner stated that it is crucial to ask for the identification of tenants and know what sort of employment to avoid leasing houses to criminals.

    Items recovered by DCI after shooting dead 5 gangsters on May 18, 2021
    Items recovered by DCI after shooting dead 5 gangsters on May 18, 2021
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