Street Crime Climbing at an Alarming Rate

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Kiran Iftikhar

Independent police experts have termed the delay in registration of FIRs as an “occupational sickness” that affects the performance of the police force

Like other countries around the world, Pakistan has a rising crime rate. Some have linked rising crime rates to unemployment, illiteracy, rising inflation, and poverty. That is why people are forced to commit crimes to meet their basic needs.
Meanwhile, citizens are constantly in a state of fear and insecurity. Most people have either been victims of street crimes themselves or know someone who was a victim recently. Going to a crowded bazaar in broad daylight is as unsafe as travelling on a deserted road at night. Lack of security is affecting the overall well-being of society.
In the last few years, robberies, thefts, kidnappings, murders, and house attacks have risen speedily in Lahore, Karachi, and Islamabad.
The police chief revealed that while Lahore is a smaller city than Karachi, there are 200,000 crime reports annually. In contrast, in the year 2020, there were 45,000 crimes per year in Karachi, but in the year 2021, it increased to 84,000 crimes. These facts clearly show the complete failure of law enforcement agencies to deal with criminal activities and protect citizens. Many lost their lives fighting street crime and theft.
Recently, four incidents ensued on a single day in Karachi. On January 12, 2022, in the Clifton area, robbers killed a businessman belonging to the Hindu community and snatched Rs 7.3 million. A 28-year-old married man was shot dead by a robber for resisting on Kashmir Road. Another 50-year-old man was shot dead for resisting an attempted robbery near Barak petrol pump on Super Highway in additional offences.
According to provincial officials, a total of 1,600 motorcycles were robbed in the city during Ramadan. More than 1,800 mobile phones and 121 four-wheelers were seized within one month.
In February 2022, a journalist affiliated with SAMAA TV was shot dead by burglars in the North Nazimabad area of Karachi on Friday morning.
Sindh Governor Imran Ismail and Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah also took notice of the murder. They directed senior police officers to ensure the immediate arrest of the killers.
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said, “One of the reasons for the rise in street crime is the current financial situation in the country. But no one is looking for excuses because yet the responsibility is ours, and we will fulfill it.”
He further said that some measures have been taken to control the situation. “Some necessary instructions have been given to the police, and we are confident that improvement will be seen in the coming days.”
Meanwhile, Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rehman, head of the Karachi chapter of Jamaat-e-Islami, has blamed the Sindh government for the increasing crime ratio in the city.
He said, “Sindh government is responsible for protecting the lives and property of the people. They have restrained the city from education, health, roads, and water. And now, there is no protection of life and property.”
If we talk about Lahore, the last few months have seen a sharp rise in crime, especially street crime in Lahore. It demonstrates the poor performance of the operations wing.
According to the annual crime report in Lahore, 120,000 cases were reported in 2020 and 225,000 in 2021. In the first four months of 2022, more than 80,000 cases have already been registered. The alarming rise in the heinous crime ratio is a matter of concern for the country.
According to statistics, about 200 incidents of street crime were reported in January alone. In addition, 26 people, including a journalist, were shot dead. Well-known journalist Hasnain Shah was killed near Lahore Press Club on Davis Road.
Some independent police experts have termed the delay in registration of FIRs as an “occupational sickness” that affects the performance of the police force. One police expert said that if the intended crime is committed before the FIR was registered, then there is no prior investigation required in such a case.
The expansion or reduction in crime rates is determined by the performance of the police and the government. The registration of crime helps to take action, and the authorities are required to assess the law and order situation in any area to check the crime rate.
Despite tight security and search operations, the federal capital is not safe from street crimes and kidnappings of young girls. According to the Federal police archives case files, in 2021 more than 13,000 cases were registered at 22 police stations across the district. The number of registered cases in 2020 was 8,800.
In the last few years, Islamabad has faced more than 6,500 incidents of robbery, street crime, theft, car theft, and motorcycle theft reported in 2021, compared to 1,087 in 2020. 140 murder cases were reported in 2021, compared to 313 in 2020.
Rising rather than declining street crime rates over time is a question mark for security agencies. Although the government has recently adopted strategies in collaboration with law enforcement agencies to curb rising crime, we have not yet noticed the practical implementation of these strategies. Law enforcement agencies and the police should take this seriously to restore law and order in the country and to provide security to the citizens.