Socio-Economic determinants of youth driven criminal activities in Kenya: A case of Lamu West -Sub County
Osundwa, Magdalen Shiundu
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The relationship between crime and socioeconomic indicators varies by region and by country. In Kenya, socioeconomic indicators of youth crime are meagerly studied; however, some studies focus solely on economic indicators of crime, leaving out the deterrent variable. The aim of this study was to discover the socioeconomic determinants of youth-driven criminal activity in Lamu County, Kenya. The study's goals were to: assess the socioeconomic factors that motivate youth participation in criminal activities in Lamu West Sub-County, Lamu County, Kenya; determine the nature of youth-driven criminal activities motivated by socioeconomic factors in Lamu West Sub-County, Lamu County, Kenya; examine the socioeconomic strategies adopted by the local community that contribute to the reduction of youth-driven criminal activities in Lamu West Sub-County, Lamu County, Kenya and; determine whether the existing legal and policy framework is supporting reduction of youth driven criminal activities within Lamu West Sub-County, Kenya. The differential association theory, frustration-aggression theory, and Maslow's needs theory were used in the research. Local community members (Nyumba Kumi members), chiefs/sub-chiefs, security forces/top police personnel, business people, youth leaders, and members of criminal groups were among the 605 respondents in this descriptive research design. A total of 181 people were polled for the study. Local residents, businesspeople, and youth leaders were also sampled using a stratified random sampling technique. Snowball sampling was used to sample members of criminal gangs, while purposive sampling was used to sample security personnel/top police officers, and area chiefs/sub-chiefs. Questionnaires and main informant interviews were used to collect data from the area. To pretest the questionnaire, a pilot test was conducted with 10% of the respondents in Kilifi Sub-County. For subsequent descriptive analytics, quantitative data was sorted, cleaned, coded, and analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 23 and presented using maps, statistics, tables, frequencies, and percentages. Thematic research was used to interpret qualitative data by implementing narratives that related to the study objectives. In the Lamu West Sub-County, the results revealed a strong and positive association between socio-economic factors (r=0.924, p<0.05) and youth involvement in illegal activities. In the sub-county, there was a strong and important link between these measures and youth-related crimes (r=0.878, p<0.05). Finally, government policies in Lamu West Sub-County that encourage youth to participate in illegal activities had a positive association with a youth-driven crime in the study area (r=0.694, p<0.05). The policies and initiatives should be put in place by security agencies to improve security. The department for youth should put in place strategies such as establishment of youth development, promotion of technical vocational education training, and enhancing access to government procurement and finance facilities. Peer pressure should be dealt with through the requisite psychosocial support interventions by the department for youth and non-governmental organizations. The Government of Lamu County should also put in place measures aimed at spurring economic growth in Lamu West-County through infrastructure development among other interventions. Funding should be availed to support community awareness-raising campaigns to rein in on radicalization practices and behaviors. Youth leaders should also be trained on how to support their colleagues to shun criminal behaviors.
Africa Nazarene University