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Tuesday February 07, 2023

More than 50,000 motorbikes snatched or stolen in Karachi during year 2021

The menace of street crime has shattered the citizens’ confidence in the police

January 03, 2022
Illustration by Ayesha Nabi. -The News
Illustration by Ayesha Nabi. -The News

Yet another year has passed with incidents of violence, terrorism and other crimes, especially the menace of depriving people of their valuables and other such street crimes, which also left many dead or injured.

According to officials and observers, Sindh in general but Karachi in particular has been faced with the ever-increasing menace of lawlessness in various realms over the past several months, which has resulted in a sharp rise in crimes of various dimensions.

Though the police have repeatedly claimed of improving the law and order situation, the reality on ground belies those claims, as a large number of people have fallen prey to various crime circles.

The government and the police are yet to assume control of the province, even after they have vowed to restore the past glory of the city by combating the menace of lawlessness. On the other hand, as the year 2021 drew to a close, many of the officials were still found to be complaining about being faced with a lack of diesel and petrol, due to which the patrolling of police mobiles was affected.

Moreover, the issue of the telephone lines of many police stations and units that had been closed many years ago remained unresolved, with the respective departmental heads claiming to have written to the departments concerned for restoring the phone lines, but the requests continued to be pending.

The officials also claimed that despite winter already having started, they were still waiting for their jackets and sweaters, which had been earlier distributed at different units and police stations of the Karachi and Sindh police, but this year they were yet to get the grant by their respective departmental heads.

Karachi has witnessed a slight increase in street crimes, greatly undermining the peace and development of this flourishing metropolitan city. The menace of street crime has shattered the citizens’ confidence in the police due to falling prey to the gangs that continue their nefarious activities without any fear of the law.

Over the past years, street crime has resulted in the loss of hundreds of lives as well as valuables worth millions of rupees looted from the people of Karachi.

The severity of the situation can be gauged from the fact that it has become usual for two to three people to fall victim to street crime in Karachi on a daily basis, with some of them being shot for resisting or, worse, being killed by the muggers.

Apart from street crime, the other major issue pointed out by the officials and observers is the availability of narcotics across Karachi, which they termed the second biggest problem of the city after terrorism.

The presence of drug dens and narcotics across the city has been damaging the futures of the next generation, as addiction has been taking hold of the younger citizens attending colleges and universities.

Even though a police crackdown had earlier been carried out against the drug dens operating in the city, the menace persists, with many police officials found to be patronising such establishments, highlighting the need for a serious effort and strategy to deal with the situation.

The year 2021 turned out to be even more dangerous for the citizens of Karachi than the previous year, as incidents of crimes committed in people’s homes, at shops and on roads increased more than before, with the citizens being deprived of billions of rupees, according to a very conservative estimate.

The officials and observers claimed that Karachi and street crime have become an integral part of each other, with such crimes being committed across the city becoming a paradoxical economy.

Statistics

According to the statistics compiled from various sources, including the Citizens-Police Liaison Committee, during the year 2020, the number of four-wheelers that were snatched or stolen across Karachi was 1,721. During the year 2021 (until December 30), however, this number increased by 21 per cent to 2,076.

If the minimum value of a snatched or stolen car is considered to be Rs1 million, the loss of the 2,076 vehicles resulted in the citizens being deprived of Rs2.1 billion.

Similarly, during the year 2020, the number of two-wheelers that were snatched or stolen across Karachi was 37,707. During the year 2021 (until December 30), however, this number increased by 33 per cent to 50,308.

Apart from vehicle theft, another major issue continued to be the theft of mobile phones. During the year 2021 (until December 30), citizens were deprived of 25,059 phones, compared to 21,558 phones during the year 2020, showing an increase of 16 per cent.

If the minimum value of a snatched or stolen phone is considered to be Rs15,000, the loss of the 25,059 phones resulted in the citizens being deprived of Rs376 million.

Moreover, 15 ransom kidnappings, 23 extortion cases, 442 homicides and two bank robberies (March and November 2021) were reported until December 30, 2021, compared to two ransom kidnappings, 22 extortion cases, 377 homicides and one bank robbery during the year 2020.

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