LAHORE: The City Police Division ranks high in the list followed by the Cantonment Division in terms of housing gambling, prostitution and drug selling dens in the provincial capital.

Out of total 447 dens in the City Police Division, 153 are related to gambling, 71 to prostitution and 223 to drug peddling.

The provincial capital is housing at least 1,906 “safe heavens” in the three categories of crime, posing a potential threat to the peace of the second largest city of the country.

Of them, 1,123 dens deal in drug selling, 318 in prostitution and 465 in gambling, a senior police official told Dawn.

He said the consolidated data on the hateful crime surfaced for the first time with a complete profile of criminals after Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif gave the Lahore police a three-month time to eliminate them from the provincial capital.

Lahore Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) retired Capt Amin Wains had sought reports from all the six divisions about the much-flourished crime in the city, he said.

After some efforts, the Superintendents of Police (SPs) of all the divisions came up with the consolidated data with suggestions that a non-stop crackdown under a ‘zero-tolerance’ policy towards these notorious crimes would help bring peace to the city.

The official said that interestingly the PML-N’s dominated area -- the City Police Division -- appeared to be ‘notorious’ especially for housing big drug sellers.

The Cantonment Division reported 411 hideouts -- 64 of gambling, 44 of prostitution and 223 of drug peddlers.

Similarly, out of total 330 hate spots, the Saddar Division is housing 47 gambling, 78 prostitution and 205 drug selling dens.

About Model Town Division, the official said, it reported a total of 277 such places. Of them, 44 were of gambling, 53 of prostitution and 180 of drug peddlers’ dens.

The Civil Lines Division is housing 229 and Iqbal Town 212 crime dens, respectively.

The official said the provincial capital police also collected data on extortionists and thugs. “A total of 188 notorious extortionists/thugs have been identified in the provincial capital before a crackdown on them,” he said.

Of them, at least 188 were operating in the Cantonment Division where a number of complaints of extortion have been surfacing.

The City Police Division reported the second highest number 36, Model Town 24, Saddar 20, Iqbal Town 18 and Civil Lines only seven extortionists/thugs.

Various police teams have been dispatched for the arrest of criminals traced and identified in the lists updated by the police high-ups.

Published in Dawn, September 24th, 2016