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KARACHI: The Citizens-Police Liaison Committee, Pakistan Rangers, Sindh, and police have decided to jointly fight the menace of street crime in the metropolis with the help of volunteers, it emerged on Thursday.

This decision was taken at a meeting, which was chaired by Karachi police chief additional inspector general of police Mushtaq Mahar, held at the CPLC office. CPLC chief Zubair Habib, sector commanders of the paramilitary force, CIA DIG, and SSPs of different districts and some concerned citizens attended the meeting.

“The participants in the meeting noted that heinous crimes had been reduced after the launch of the Rangers-led operation in Karachi. However, citizens were concerned about street crime. A strategy was chalked out at the meeting to bring down street crime,” said sources.

They told Dawn that some ‘hot spots’ in Karachi South and East districts were identified for a targeted operation against street crime.

They said it was also decided that elements involved in sale/purchase of stolen mobile phones and motorbikes would be taken to task.

Besides, they added, modern technology would be used to curb this menace.

“The law and order situation has improved, with a considerable drop in incidents of targeted killings, extortion, terrorism, kidnapping for ransom and bank robberies, due to the ongoing operation in the metropolis. People have expressed their satisfaction over this,” said CIA DIG Barrister Abdul Khalique Shaikh, who attended the meeting along with other officers.

This reduction in heinous crimes became possible when organized criminal gangs, militants and political elements patronizing the criminals were taken to task, he said. He said citizens, particularly civil society, was concerned over street crime. “This was high time we focused on curbing street crime, particularly mobile phones, cash and motorbike snatching incidents,” said the senior officer.

He said the CPLC chief shared their research data about street crime in the meeting and highlighted perceived hot spots. Certain volunteers who had recently set up a surveillance and police deployment system at old Submarine Chowrangi on Chaudhry Khaliq-uz-Zaman Road also attended the meeting.

It was decided to replicate the model at other places such as NIPA Chowrangi, Shahbaz Commercial area in Defence, 26th Street in Defence and other such localities with the police deployment backed by modern technology.

The participants in the meeting also expressed concern over a lack of coordination among different police stations. For instance, they noted, NIPA Chowrangi came within the jurisdiction of three different police stations namely Gulshan-i-Iqbal, Mobina Town and Aziz Bhatti police station. The ‘dispute’ over jurisdiction often caused delay in taking action on complaints of street crime, they said, adding that under the new strategy the superintendent of police or deputy superintendent of police concerned would enhance patrolling in such areas with the help of volunteers.

“The participants also decided to set up dedicated units or sub-units to deal with street crime,” said DIG Sheikh.

Published in Dawn, March 4th, 2016