Street crime is one Karachi’s major problems.
Law enforcers are on a mission to reduce the crime rate, but recent figures show that the street criminals have been more efficient than them.
At least 32 people have lost their lives so far this year for putting up resistance during robberies. Of them, eight were killed in February, three each in March, April and May, two in June, three in July, five in August, four in September and 1 in October till now. This figure was 54 in 2018.
The total number of people injured for putting up resistance stands at 282 so far this year with 41 injured in Jan, 36 in February, 39 in March, 23 in April, 34 in May, 21 in June, 22 in July, 27 in August and 39 in September. In 2018, this figure was 374 and in 2017, it was 407.
More than 34,000 mobile phones, 19,055 motorcycles and 1,104 cars have been snatched so far this year.
The figures are going down when compared to data from previous years, but they are still very high.
Police says it has arrested 631 street criminals this year. It arrested 1,187 street criminals in 2018 and 870 in 2017. But is this enough?
According to Karachi Police Chief Ghulam Nabi Memon, 60% of the street criminals are drug users. He says these people need money to buy drugs and commit crimes to get that money.
“If we want to reduce the street crime rate, we have to take strong action against drug peddlers,” he said, adding that the Karachi police is making a record of the arrested drug users so they can be monitored after being released.
Memon, however, believes that it’s not all the job of the police. “The complainant and witnesses should also take interest in the case,” he said, adding that in many instances, citizens don’t pursue their cases, which leads to a low conviction rate. He said that if all three parties (police, complainant, witness) do their part, the conviction rate could be a 100%.
Speaking over the phone, the Karachi police chief shared plans of making a rehabilitation centre for drug users in coordination with the Anti-Narcotics Force and CPLC.
At least 25 dacoits and street criminals have been killed in different encounters in 2019, according to police data. But people say they don’t feel safe.
Former CPLC chief Jameel Yousuf says crime can only be fought through technology.
He said the rate of kidnapping for ransom in the city has gone down with the help of technology. A similar approach can be used to lower street crime. “Police should see the spots where street criminals are active and change their patrolling pattern on a weekly basis,” he suggested.
Yousuf also said that police should be non-political. “The quality of policing should improve. Officers from the special branch should be stationed at every police station to dig out information on criminals in the area,” he said.
In 2017, police removed high quality locators from police mobiles, he said. These locators showed the latest location of the mobile and the vehicle’s fuel consumption. He said the technology could be used reduce street crime.
Counter-Terrorism Department in-charge Mazhar Mashwani also had some tips on how to reduce street crime. Every street criminal who gets bail, he said, should be given a digital bracelet with GPS to monitor their location.