NAIROBI, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- Experts have warned about the rising crime rates in Kenyan cities as the country's security forces focus on the war against terrorism.
National leaders, security experts and investors have expressed concerns over the surge in armed robberies, carjacking and abductions which threaten economic growth and social cohesion in the East African nation.
Based on police records, violent crimes have escalated in different parts of the Kenyan capital Nairobi since mid October.
This week alone, ten hardcore criminals were shot dead by police in several parts of Nairobi and lethal weapons including an AK-47 rifle and Ceska pistols were recovered.
A bizarre incident that involved lynching of three robbery suspects by an irate public was reported by police on Thursday when Kenya celebrated the Heroes' day.
Despite assurances from senior police officers, ordinary Kenyan citizens and foreigners residing in major cities have expressed concern over escalating robberies, murders and kidnappings.
Security experts who spoke to Xinhua on Friday said that Kenya must reframe its strategies of fighting urban crimes, which have almost surpassed terrorism to become a leading national security threat.
Simiyu Werunga, a Nairobi-based security expert, said that criminals have exploited a vacuum occasioned by too much concentration of personnel and resources on the war against terrorism.
"My take is that even as the country makes significant headway in the fight against Somalia-based terror group, Al-Shabaab, we are losing the battle against violent crime that has assumed crisis proportion lately," Werunga said.
He urged the government to invest in state of the art technology and personnel in order to enhance response to urban crime.
"The police force should be equipped with modern technology to enhance tracking of criminals. Likewise, surveillance cameras should be installed along major highways, shopping malls, banks and market centers to record movement of criminals," Werunga told Xinhua.
He added that Kenya should devote more attention to domestic security threats that bodes ill for the country's economic progress and stability.
Police records indicate that Nairobi alone has more than a dozen criminal gangs comprised of young men and women that have operated in low-income suburbs located on the eastern fringes of the capital.
The gangs are behind the current wave of violent robberies, carjackings and burglaries reported in residential and business premises.
Police say retail shops and mobile money transfer outlets are their prized destinations, while entertainment spots in wealthy Nairobi suburbs are also a major target.
The Kenyan police service has responded to a public outcry over a spike in violent crime in Nairobi streets and residential premises with enhanced patrols.