Peace in Karachi still a distant dream

August 09, 2022

KARACHI: Not paying legal taxes will most likely not land you in trouble if you are a resident of Karachi. However, trying to resist muggers, who may approach you on a road or a street of the city,...

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KARACHI: Not paying legal taxes will most likely not land you in trouble if you are a resident of Karachi. However, trying to resist muggers, who may approach you on a road or a street of the city, may prove lethal as they often instantly shoot anyone who shows signs of resistance.

Despite all the claims regarding restoration of law and order in Karachi, the city continues to be a haven for criminals who on daily basis kill and wound its residents and deprive them of their hard-earned money as well as cars, motorcycles and mobile phones on streets and roads and even at their doorstep.

The ground reality contradicts the government’s claim that it has controlled the street crime. In just six months in the ongoing year, 50 innocent lives fell prey to street criminals who also wounded over 350 others.

Those who were murdered included a journalist, a Hafiz-e-Quran, a newly-wed man and a member of Hindu community. A significant number of them were youths who could not control themselves during mobile phone-snatching bids and put up resistance, only to be shot in return.

Besides scores of deaths and injuries, residents of the city were also deprived of their valuables worth Rs1.6 billion in the first six months of 2022. According to the data compiled with the help of newspaper stories, a total of 42,769 incidents of street crime occurred in the city between January and June this year.

In January alone, 11 people were killed and 65 injured in Karachi during street crime. Nine citizens lost their lives to street criminals in February, nine in March, three in April, 10 in May and eight in June.

Of these 50 deaths, three occurred in Malir District, 10 in East, nine in Korangi, 11 in Central, 14 in District West and one each in the police districts of Keamari, City and South. For the policing purposes, the city has been divided into eight districts.

According to the Citizens-Police Liaisons Committee’s (CPLC) statistics from January till June 2022, citizens of Karachi were deprived of 14,435 mobile phones, 27,161 motorcycles and 1,173 cars.

If the average cost of a mobile phone is estimated at Rs20,000, the total worth of stolen mobile phones in the six months is around Rs228 million. Similarly, if Rs30,000 is a safe estimation of the average cost of a motorcycle, the total worth of snatched and stolen motorcycles in the six months is around Rs433 million. If the average cost of a car is estimated at Rs500,000, the total worth of the snatched and stolen cars in six months is around Rs586 million.

In January, the CPLC data shows, 2,499 mobile phones were snatched and 68 were recovered. Sixteen four-wheelers were snatched and 184 stolen, while only 87 snatched and stolen four-wheelers were recovered. Similarly, 419 two-wheelers were snatched and 3,908 were stolen, while only 319 recovered. One case each of kidnapping for ransom and extortion were registered.

In February, 2,199 mobile phones were snatched and only 34 were recovered. Fifteen four-wheelers were snatched and 171 stolen, while only 56 snatched or stolen four-wheelers were recovered. A total of 405 motorcycles were snatched and 4,081 stolen, but only 271 motorcycles were recovered. One case of extortion was reported.

In March, 2,416 mobile phones were snatched and only 68 were recovered. Sixteen four-wheelers were snatched and 204 stolen, while only 57 four-wheelers were recovered. A total of 426 motorcycles were snatched and 4,285 stolen, but only 286 two-wheelers were recovered. One case of kidnapping for ransom was reported.

In April, 2,118 mobile phones were snatched, while only 45 were recovered. Twelve four-wheelers were snatched and 181 stolen, while only 42 four-wheelers were recovered. A total of 353 motorcycles were snatched and 352 stolen, but only 184 were recovered. One case of bank robbery was reported.

In May, 2,658 mobile phones were snatched, while only 53 were recovered. Twelve four-wheelers were snatched and 174 stolen, while only 47 were recovered. A total of 383 motorcycles were snatched and 4,454 stolen, but only 246 were recovered. One case of extortion was reported.

In June, 2,600 mobile phones were snatched and only 50 were recovered. Ten four-wheelers were snatched and 178 stolen, while only 55 four-wheelers were recovered. A total of 456 motorcycles were snatched and 4,197 stolen, but only 248 were recovered. Four cases of kidnapping for ransom were reported.

The street crime in Karachi has remained a major challenge for the law-enforcement agencies. The law-enforcers believe multiple factors are the root cause of unstoppable crime in the city such as poor economic conditions, repeat offenders, lack of community policing and arrival of people from other parts of the country.

“The street crime situation has much improved and we are preparing policy while keeping the patterns and causes of the crime in view, and soon there will be more improvement,” Karachi police chief Jawed Alam Odho said while talking to The News. “As the economic conditions get better, they will result in a decline in the crime”, he said.

Citing the example of a gang of robbers that was involved in more than 35 robberies in bungalows of Defence Housing Authority with the help of housemaids, he requested the citizens of Karachi to be vigilant, especially before hiring servants or maids.

Talking about crackdown on 1,571 habitual criminals, he said crackdown was continuing and most of the police encounters that were occurring were with repeat offenders.



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