Despite tall claims made by the Karachi police about a considerable decrease in the crime rate of the city over the years that is corroborated by the World Crime Index, the metropolis is faced with an alarming increase in the menace of street crime.
The crimes committed during the first 12 days of the new year have set a record when compared to the corresponding period of the past years. Six people were killed and two policemen, a retired civilian navy official and a young woman among 24 people were wounded while resisting armed robberies and mugging attempts.
During the first 12 days of 2022, Karachiites lost millions of rupees in armed robberies and snatching at gunpoint, with no district of the city remaining safe from the reach of criminals. Data gathered by The News shows that despite a growing number of cases, widespread coverage of street crime by mainstream media and rising number of people’s complaints, such incidents have been witnessing an upward trend over the past three months.
Of the six people who lost their lives this year, three were killed in a span of four hours on Wednesday: a Hindu trader was robbed of Rs7.3 million he withdrew from a Clifton bank and killed, a sand trader was killed in Sachal and a newly-wed man was killed in Ferozabad. On January 1, policeman Barkat Ali lost his life and constable Anwar was wounded when robbers opened fire near Faqira Goth within the limits of the SITE Superhighway police station.
On January 10, 30-year-old grocery owner Amanullah, who was also associated with a politico-religious party, was gunned down during a robbery at his Gulshan-e-Maymar shop. On the same day, Bilawal, 34, was killed for resisting a mugging bid near the Jamali flyover within the limits of the Sachal police station.
Twenty-four others, including two policemen, a retired civilian navy official and a young woman, were wounded in various incidents of mugging bids in different parts of the city. Besides killing and injuring citizens, criminals also looted mobile phones, cash and cheques worth Rs12.3 million during a robbery at gunpoint at an office of a trader at the Saddar mobile market on January 10.
Citizens have been deprived of valuables worth millions of rupees in just 12 days. The Citizens-Police Liaison Committee’s statistics show 63 incidents of theft and snatching of four-wheelers and 1,135 of two-wheelers just in the new year. Citizens have also been deprived of 795 mobile phones.
The Karachi police have failed to trace and arrest the suspects behind a majority of these incidents. The cases of the mugging incidents that claimed three lives on Wednesday were registered on Thursday against unidentified suspects.
The funeral prayer of Shahrukh, who was killed in front of his mother and sister on Kashmir Road, was offered at Rehmania Masjid on Tariq Road on Thursday, and it was attended by a large number of people.
He had gotten married recently and was a car dealer. A large number of showroom owners also held a protest against the incident and shouted slogans against the failure of the Karachi police in controlling street crime. They also demanded that the suspects be arrested immediately. They also observed a shutter-down strike.
“Incidents of street crime are on the rise,” Shahrukh’s brother Jahanzaib told the media after the funeral. “Security guards stay in a bunker near his house, but no one challenged the robbers. If a security guard would have intervened, the situation might have been different.”
Shahrukh was the youngest of four brothers. Jahanzaib suspects that the rickshaw driver who had brought their mother and sister could have had links with the robber who had shot his brother dead. “Shahrukh was getting ready to take his wife to her parents’ house according to the post-wedding tradition,” he said. “A happy family has suddenly been turned into a grieving family.”