The Special Branch of the Sindh police have identified at least 422 street criminals who have been depriving citizens of their valuables at gunpoint across the city, and even killing and injuring them for offering slight resistance.
After the identification of such criminals working within the limits of the eight districts of the Karachi police, senior police officers have decided to take immediate and stern action against them.
According to a copy of the report prepared by the Special Branch obtained by The News, at least 422 street criminals are operating in Karachi and a majority of the street crime incidents are reported from two districts of the city – District Central and District East.
The report also mentions frequent crime incidents in posh localities of District South, identifying 33 hotspots. The Special Branch has also stated the reasons behind the rising incidents of street crime in the city as well as suggestions to curb the menace.
It says that the main reasons behind the surge in street crime have been unemployment, inflation and economic issues. It also states that the local police not implementing any effective strategy against street crime also contributed to the rise in crime incidents.
Regarding District West, the report states that the Orangi division of the district consists of large slum areas inhabited by impoverished persons. According to the report, police vehicles are seen only in specific areas of District West and cops go to such areas for their own interests. The document says that policemen usually focus on vehicle documents and things like Gutka and Mawa while checking vehicles, due to which professional street criminals easily commit crimes without any fear, and even if they are caught or arrested, they are released due to faulty police investigations, and resume committing street crimes.
In order to prevent street crime, sports facilities and employment opportunities should be provided by the government at the local level, reads the report, which also calls for implementing a policy that can lead to the local police satisfying the street crime victims and conducting professional investigations so that the street criminals are brought to justice.
For District East, the report mentions that street crime has increased in areas within the limits of the Sohrab Goth and Sacchal police stations and the Jamali flyover has become a place of frequent snatchings.
The report says that mostly people of Pashtun and Afghan origins of the surrounding slum areas are behind snatchings, and when police try to carry out action against them, residents of those slum areas resist the police action and paint it as an action taken on an ethnic basis.
People of Sindhi, Siraiki and Bengali origins are also involved in street crime in these areas, the report states, adding that a majority of street criminals reside in the slum areas of Ayub Goth, Lasi Goth and Scheme 33. After committing street crime, such criminals easily disappear in populated slum areas that also do not have CCTV cameras and street lights. The strength of police staff is also low in the police stations concerned.
The document suggests that CCTV cameras and street lights be fixed in such areas and search operations be carried out there. The report also mentions that due to the current economic condition of the country and inflation, some people who come to Karachi from remote or underprivileged areas of the country in search of employment also start committing street crimes by following local criminals.
A majority of street criminals live in the slums, says the report. As they live as tenants, they easily escape from the city or province. Even if they are arrested by the police, they get bail easily, due to which they do not fear arrest.
In order to eliminate street crime, it is necessary that there is a plenty of employment opportunities in the country and the issue of inflation is addressed, the report reads.
About the street crime incidents in the Clifton area, the report says that criminals come to the posh area from the adjoining localities of Jinnah Colony, Hijrat Colony, Shah Rasool Colony, Qayyumabad, Kala Pul, Hazara Colony, Reti Line, Neelum Colony, Korangi, Lyari other localities, and flee after committing crimes.
The Special Branch has called for establishing check posts at the entry and exit points of Clifton like Mai Kolachi Road, Railway Track, Khyaban-e-Ittehad, Causeway, Kala Pul Signal, Teen Talwar and Ziauddin Chowrangi to control street crime. It also suggests snap-checking and patrolling in the morning hours.
The report indicates that many salaried people become victims of street crime in Clifton in the first 10 days of a month when they have withdrawn their salaries.
“We have sped up our actions against the street criminals. In only this month, our police in Zone West have so far killed five robbers in encounters,” DIG Zone West Nasir Aftab told The News. “We are especially focusing on the repeat offenders.”
He acknowledged the need for improving the investigation process so that the criminals are successfully prosecuted and sentenced for their crimes. “There should be a unified policy to deal with the street crime incidents,” DIG Aftab remarked. “We are also focusing on the community-based CCTV camera monitoring system and we have launched it in the Azizabad area,” he said, adding that similar systems would be set up in other areas of the city. The Safe City project would also help reduce street crime, the officer stated.
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