The National Crime Research Centre has today launched a report on “Emerging Crimes: The Case of Kidnappings in Kenya.”  The report which was launched by the Attorney General Prof. Githu Muigai, who is also the Chair of the Governing Council of the Centre, was carried out in 20 randomly selected Counties in Kenya.

Speaking on Wednesday during the launch, the Attorney General pointed out kidnapping committed by strangers as being the most prevalent in Kenya at 68.9%. Kidnapping committed by friends and an acquaintance was mentioned to be at 48.3% whilst kidnapping committed by family members stood at 29%.

Findings of the study on the socio-economic characteristics of the kidnappers indicated that the main perpetrators of the crime were youth aged 18-35 years. Unemployment and poverty were the key enablers of the youth resorting to dubious means of getting easy money. The report also indicated that the main victims targeted in the crime were children and juveniles aged below 18 years.

The Director of the National Crime Research Centre, Mr. Gerard Wandera attributed kidnapping of school going children to lack of parental monitoring on their children after school. He said the activities of the school children after 5.00PM, for most public day schools, have a direct correlation with them falling prey to the kidnappers. Other targeted victims of the crime included females, members of wealthy families, business persons, government officers and tourists.

The modus operandi of the crime was through groups of kidnappers who use illegal arms and weapons against the victims; use of force and enticing of victims were also mentioned as common means through which kidnappers get to the victims. The report revealed that most victims of the crime are kidnapped when going home, in their business premises and when closing their business.


On the motive of the kidnapping, revenge was mentioned as being the key socio-cultural cause for the crime at 67.5%; ransom payment was the main economic motive at 87.6% whilst political rivalry was identified as the key political motive of the crime at 63.3%.

The Attorney General called on all Kenyans to fully embrace community intelligence. He reiterated the need of vigilance by Kenyans in their communities saying it is the responsibility of every Kenyan to keep our country safe. In the fight against crime in our society, Prof. Muigai said 60% of crime can be reduced through accurate timely intelligence, 10% through rapid deployment of resources, 10% through effective tactics and strategies whilst 10% of crime can be reduced through relentless follow-ups and assessment.

Mr. Wandera, in his remarks, said there is need for all stakeholders to participate in setting the security’s agenda. He pointed out that 53% of crime can be reduced if elected, ordained and appointed leaders came together to talk about security. He added that communities can reduce 40% of crime if they engaged in crime intelligence whilst security apparatus and early warning can reduce crime each at 7% and 60% respectively.

The Government of Kenya has enacted relevant laws in the fight against kidnapping through sections 254-262, CAP 63 LoK. Kidnapping is an illegal crime which involves transporting any person from one place to another against his or her will or confining a person including children (boys aged thirteen years and below and girls aged fifteen years and below) and persons of unsound mind in a place of isolation beyond their control. Closely related to kidnapping is abduction which is the illegal confinement of persons including children (boys aged fourteen years and above and girls aged sixteen years and above) in a place of isolation.

The Penal Code states that any person who kidnaps an individual is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for a minimum of seven years. There is however need for reforms in our laws to create stiffer criminal penalties for the crime in the administration of justice.


The report was launched on Wednesday, 21st June 2017 at the Kenyatta International Conventional Centre, Aberdares Hall in Nairobi.

For    more information          on     the    full    report, visit   our    website

Gerard E. Wandera


National Crime Research Centre

ACK Gardens Annex-Ground Floor

1st Ngong Avenue Off Bishop’s Road

P.O Box 21180-00100 Nairobi

Tel:  +254-20-2714735/+254-722-980102