Crime in Kampala
by Jeff Hoffman
Is Kampala developing a crime reputation of late? How bad is the crime?
I don’t know if I would go so far as to say that Kampala has a crime reputation. Yes there is crime - like in any big cities in the world, but most, I would classify as petty.
...And compared to the other cities in Africa, Kampala is genuinely peaceful and free.
You will not hear people kidnapped and held for ransom, as happens in some cities elsewhere. There aren’t any home invasions (perhaps a few, but again most of these are break ins while you are away and usually due to laxity in properly securing your home).
One would be unfortunate if the break in was while they were at home – especially at night and at such times, I would advise, you let common sense prevail; your personal safety comes first before any thing else. Rather than try to fight them; let them take what they want. An initially simple break in may turn out nasty!
You will certainly be mugged if you exposed yourself. Keep your precious items away in public places. Things like; your jewellery, money pass, hand bag, camera, mobile phone, watches, cash and so on.
And again, depends on which parts of Kampala you go to – avoid dark isolated places that could easily expose you to attack. And carefully choose your bars and social places.
If say; you were at a party and needed to go home. Avoid trying to walk home or to the nearest taxi rack. It’s always good to have contact for a taxi/ cab that you can quickly call to pick you up.
Overall, in terms of safety, that is really about the extent of crime in Kampala. But just to emphasis of course, the dumber the behaviour (walking alone along a down town street after 9 or 10 at night, flashing jewellery, nice watch etc), the more likely you’ll be victimized.
On the recent wave of demonstrations in and around Kampala and some other parts of the country; many of these are political and social in nature - which could happen in any active society the world over, where a displeased group will try to express their displeasure to the authorities.
Unfortunately, some of these have turned out rowdy and vicious as police tries to stop them.
My advice would be to avoid them and such places. The beauty is that many times you will tell when and where they are about to happen – unless of course you are accidently caught up in the middle of the fracas.
Stay alert, stay conscious of what's going on around you, and you should be fine.
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