|Hot spots for motorcycle crime|
KARACHI: More than 60 places where motorbike snatching and theft are common have been identified across the city, it emerged on Monday.
Officials believe pure vigilance by the area police and consistent check by the law enforcement agency at these spots could bring an end to the menace.
They say motorbike snatching and theft dropped significantly due to recent changes in policing against the crime, but only with the assistance of area police, the trend could be maintained.
“Motorbikes snatching or theft has dropped by 50 per cent,” said ACLC SSP Irfan Bahadur who recently introduced round-the-clock call centre facility to report any crime related to vehicles over the phone. “By 2014 on an average, 70 to 80 motorbikes were snatched or stolen everyday. We tracked down a number of groups and individuals involved in the crime over the past four months and arrested dozens of suspects. It resulted in a significant drop in the crime.”
In a recent report designed with maps and locations of the city’s vulnerable spots, anti-car lifting cell officials urged the authorities at the central police office (CPO) to issue a strict directive to police stations to check motorbike snatching and theft.
The report carries names and locations of the 61 areas which have been declared ‘hot spots’ for motorbike snatching and theft. It spotted areas in all the six city districts — east, west, central, south, Malir and Korangi — where the motorcyclists are mostly targeted for their two-wheelers.
“For instance, in Karachi central district, there were 66 cases of motorbike snatching or theft registered at the Taimuria police station,” said an official citing details of the ACLC report. “In that particular town, we identified Sector 15-A of Buffer Zone, block N and L in North Nazimabad, areas around Serena Mobile Market near Sakhi Hasan and 2-K bus stop in block N as the most vulnerable for the motorcyclists.”
Similarly, in Karachi south district, 36 cases were registered where Arambagh, Pakistan Chowk, Burns Road, areas around Alam Shah Bukhari Mazar and Asma Masjid, Deen Muhammad Wafai Road and Lighthouse were identified as the hot spots, he added.
“Though the groups can go for any brand when they decide to snatch or steal motorbikes, Super Power, Unique and Honda 70cc remained the most preferred choice of the lifters,” he said. “The ACLC record seconds this assessment as more than 5,000 Super Power 70cc bikes were stolen in 2014 alone, topping the list of brands, which were taken away last year. The brands which followed included 70cc motorbikes of Unique and Honda.”
After this exercise of mapping the city’s hot spots, ACLC SSP Bahadur said it was local police prime responsibility to keep an eye on such spots. Otherwise, he said, it would not prove effective in eliminating the crime.
“The ACLC job is to recover stolen or snatched vehicles, trace and arrest those involved in this crime and make sure that they are penalised by courts,” the officer said.
“As far as vigilance and surveillance of hot spots is concerned to enhance deterrence level and keep motorbike snatchers and thieves away is the responsibility of local police, as they know their areas of policing more than others do,” he added.
Published in Dawn, May 12th, 2015