A new study by Human Rights Network Uganda (Hurinet) on public perception on the state of policing in Uganda shows that 46 percent are insecure.
The survey was conducted in Kampala, Kayunga, Jinja, Masaka, Mpigi, Wakiso, Luwero and Mukono district to establish the respondents’ perceptions on safety and security of their communities and how unsafe or secure they fill.
46 percent of the 1242 respondents in all the districts where the survey was conducted said they insecure, 32 percent felt safe while 21 percent neither felt secure nor insecure.
The variations of safety and security were also established to cut across the eight districts with 53 percent of respondents in Masaka and Kampala as well as 48 percent of the respondents in Wakiso was unsafe.
On the other hand, 56 percent of the respondents in Mukono, 43 percent in Mpigi, and 38 percent of respondents in Kayunga felt safe.
Arguably, the levels of safety across the eight districts were minimal. Respondents in the urban based districts less secure compared to those in rural districts.
“This perception was largely attributed to increase in crime related incidents in urban areas due to high unemployment rate, development of slum that habour criminals and emergency of criminal gangs and organized crime,” read part of the report.
In general, the perceptions of lack of safety were largely attributed to developments such as increased levels of criminality in the country, particularly gun violence and emergence of criminal gangs that continue to terrorize members of the public without being apprehended by the police.
The survey also probed respondent’s levels of safety and security during day and night with varying results according to the time of the day.
The findings reveal that 68 percent of the respondents felt insecure at night while 20 percent reported to be safe during day time.
54 percent said they were safe or unsafe during the day and 25 percent were neither safe nor unsafe during night.
The perception of lack of safety during night was much prevalent in Mukono and Jinja district where 90 percent and 74 percent of respondents reported lack of safety respectively.
The reason for the respondent’s perception for lack of safety and security were based on experiences of criminal activities in their communities during night in form of robbery, house break-in and the difficulty that comes with being able to notice or detect offenders or criminals who take cover in darkness.
The perceptions of safety during the day were largely attributed to less likelihood of criminal activities to occur during day time.
In the survey, 60 percent respondents were male, 38 percent female while 2 percent did not indicate their sex.
In addition, 77 percent of the respondents were youth ranging between 18 and 34 while 1 percent were above 75 years of age while another 1 percent did not know their age.
In addition to other demographics, 41 percent of the respondents had attained secondary education, 28 percent university education and at least 3 percent had no education.
This varied between urban and peri-urban.
In terms of employment, 38 percent of respondents were in informal employment (self-employed) while 32 percent were unemployed.
In the same way, 16 percent were employed in private sector while 8 percent were farmers and 6 percent employed by public sector.
Patrick Tumwine, one of the lead researchers from the Public Interest Law Clinic (PILAC) at Makerere University Law School, said although the data collection was limited to eight districts mainly central and eastern Uganda, they mitigated this narrow scope through interviews with police management at national level, especially heads of directorates, departments, and Units that are core to the functioning of Uganda Police Force.
Tumwine who is also Hurinet’s Advocacy, Research & Information Officer, said this November report is not in any way targeting the police and that it was largely picking what the public thought about police in their areas in terms of its mandate.