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60 Karachi areas become ‘hot spots’ for mobile phone snatching

Updated Jan 09, 2017 11:03am

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KARACHI: The Citizens-Police Liaison Committee has identified 60 places in the sprawling metropolis where incidents of street crimes, particularly snatching of mobile phones, have increased alarmingly, it emerged on Sunday.

Law-enforcement officials believed that with the identification of the 60 “hot spots” the area police could manage to cut the number, if not curb the menace entirely, of street crimes by effective patrolling and consistent vigilance.

A comprehensive data prepared by the CPLC showed how the busy and densely populated neighbourhoods had become hotspots for criminals in the recent months.

The data appeared to be a guideline for the authorities at the Central Police Office (CPO) to plan a comprehensive strategy to check the growing number of street crimes there.

It contained names and locations of the 60 areas — in all six Karachi districts — which have been declared ‘hot spots’ for mobile phone snatching and theft.

The officials said that although the number of streets crimes was less in the first nine months of 2016, it increased during the last quarter of the previous year to an extent that it sent ripples through the power corridors.

“There are different indicators which define street crimes,” said an official citing the recently compiled data. “It includes snatching of mobile phones and vehicles — both motorbikes and four-wheelers — and their theft. However, mobile phone snatching is believed to be the most significant indicator among others which affect almost every class of the society and every neighbourhood of the city.”

In 2015, he said 21,198 mobile phones were snatched while 20,442 stolen. In 2016, a total of 34,137 mobile phones were either snatched or stolen across the city.

The figures of street crime skyrocketed during the last quarter of 2016 despite staying low in the first nine months of the year, he said.

“For instance, in Karachi’s East district, 415 cases of mobile phone snatching were registered between September and December 2016,” said the official citing the CPLC data.

“In that particular district, the areas which have been identified as the hot spots include Disco Bakery [Gulshan-e-Iqbal], Aladin Park, Continental Bakery [Gulshan-e-Iqbal], Dolmen Mall, Millennium Mall, Baloch Colony Bridge, Iqra University, Noorani Kabab House intersection, NIPA and Ambala Bakery,” he added.

Similarly, in the Central district, 249 cases were registered between September and December 2016. Areas including Matric Board Office, Hyderi Market, Saima Pari Mall, Meena Bazaar, Sarena Mobile Market, Liaquatabad Super Market, Sindhi Hotel, Ziauddin Hospital, Imtiaz Super Market [Nazimabad], and area around Dhamthal Sweets [Federal B. Area] were identified as hot spots for mobile phone snatching.

After the mapping of the city’s neighbourhoods, the official said it was the prime responsibility of the area police to keep an eye on such spots. Otherwise, he said, it would not prove effective in eliminating the menace of street crimes.

“The vigilance and surveillance of the hot spots is the responsibility of local police, as they know their areas more than others do,” he added.

“You can plan things at the city or any other level, but policing on ground is the job of the area police. They know each and every corner and quite aware of vulnerable spots within the remits of their police stations. However, unfortunately, fighting street crime has never been their priority for one reason or the other.”

Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2017

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Comments (53) Closed



Salman Jan 09, 2017 08:27am

Sindh police is acting as personal security service for Zardari family and Zardari's friend. I counted 60 policemen when I saw faryal talpur attending a wedding.

Ahsan gul Jan 09, 2017 08:42am

Since no military courts crimes are bound to escalate. Our people only understand stick action.

Sab Se Pehle Pakistan Jan 09, 2017 08:50am

My question is what are the LEAs doing about it? What happened to the so called across the board operation?

SDA Jan 09, 2017 09:19am

The elite who are not even doing anything for Sindh Government seem to pay the Police trucks Rs. 2000 or so where the entire squad gets busy catering to those elites security needs.

Imran ali Jan 09, 2017 09:29am

@Ahsan gul nothing to do with military court..operation be came political and many making machine..

Citizen of karachi Jan 09, 2017 09:38am

Yes we Karachiites feel insecured due to street crimes even more than target killers.

Most of the street criminals live and hide in slums of Karachi. Effective intelligence network and sting operations can eliminate such criminals but who cares! Sindh government is only interested in corruption, which has broken down law and order in this city in particular and the entire province in general.

khanm Jan 09, 2017 10:06am

Who would know those hot spot better than our Police..wasting the time..Karachi is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes and if i write it will not be posted..

Jamal Jan 09, 2017 10:10am

What else you expect when police is politicized and often work along with the criminals, justice system is slow and defected and law makers break the law themselves. Can't say its a jungle out there because even jungles have some laws.

Sab Se Pehle Pakistan Jan 09, 2017 10:10am

Where are the LEAs? Oh they are busy doing politics and targeting the most loved party of Urban Sindh. Sorry I asked.

Parvez Jan 09, 2017 10:18am

okay, lets get serious -if there is anyone really involved listening. its not just the criminal action - its the underground economy of 2nd hand mobile phones. if that is not controlled and there is a demand for buying and reselling snatched phones, we know the market in saddar, we know the policy and ethnic communities involved heavily in those second markets - the crime will continue in fashion or the other. one of the saddest things with newspapers, readers and our commentators etc - is the superficial level of approaching, explaining and responding to problems.

Traders need to have some ethics too - most of these memon traders - not all but many - pray and fast etc - but openly participate in the sale and buying of 2nd phones. its not just targeting man with guns snatching phones - it even applies to issuance of motorbikes, guns - same political economy issue. well, useless to comment but i did anyways.

Philosopher(from japan) Jan 09, 2017 10:19am

It's expected if the action is not across the borders and not against criminals especially religious fanatics are roaming freely not only in Karachi but in entire Pakistan. Nobody is ready to nap them because nap is 'no action is planned'

MSUH Jan 09, 2017 10:26am

Simple plan is to dress policemen in normal dress and ask them to be on critical areas while pretending talking on phone, since snatchers hunt for easy and quick target it is very likely they will try to snatch it from policemen, here is the time when you catch them. Only if it is done with sincerity.

Danish Jan 09, 2017 10:41am

Amazing how every single Karachi has has lost a cell phone at least once. It's been over a decade since this menace started and still nothing significant has been done to stop it.

suchbaath Jan 09, 2017 10:46am

Here is the link for cell phone owners to record their serial numbers. Once stolen, then work with your cellular company and police to track who is using the phone. Once police makes arrests, then it will be a deterrent for people to buy stolen phones, as thieves don't use it. All used phone buyers needs to get NIC# of person selling phone to make harder for thieves selling stolen phones. It will just create hurdles may not stop phone snatching, unless Pakistan follow same rules as several US states asking phone makers to put kill switch to enable for stolen phones by cellular service provider.

https://www.techwalla.com/articles/how-to-track-a-stolen-phone-with-the-serial-number

Muhammad Jan 09, 2017 11:00am

@Salman Its now almost 10 years to be completed we are facing same situation or u can say its PPP Police. We are now safe because of Rangers otherwise whole Sindh Govt just simply work for Zardari and its company... There is no infrastructure development from Sindh Govt since 2008 and everyone knows sanitary/garbage issue citizens are facing and since Zardari arrived this issues will increase further...

aslam shaikh1 Jan 09, 2017 11:25am

Police in these 60 areas is earning a lot of protection money.

SR Jan 09, 2017 11:23am

Made a law for selling and purchase of used mobile phones. That will surely help.

Erum Jan 09, 2017 11:27am

We cant blame poverty for these street crimes because there are many other poor countries where these petty street crimes are not committed at such large scale. So what is the reason it is happening in pak(especially karachi)? Also, why these crimes not committed in punjab?

FAROOOQ Jan 09, 2017 12:01pm

60 points makes up the entire city more or less... The only areas not listed or missing are the CM house, the Rangers Headquarters and the Army Cantonment..... The rest of the city is a free for all ...if you take the 60 'hot spots' !!

FMS2 Jan 09, 2017 12:09pm

@Parvez, I agree, and they cannot monitor these 60 hotspots and now they are publishing this data.

merit Jan 09, 2017 12:24pm

Thanks for the Alert. This will help.

shafi Jan 09, 2017 12:27pm

Sindh Police involved in crime...they provide protection to criminals for money...karachi is hub of crminials and mafia

Dr Afridi Jan 09, 2017 12:44pm

Hope cell phones will not be banned.

ahmad Jan 09, 2017 12:50pm

mobile theft can be very easily reduced, by registering sim with phone.

Majid Jan 09, 2017 12:53pm

Area police is one of the key beneficiary of street crime, how on earth they would do anything serious to get rid of this menace

Dr. SalariA, Aamir Ahmad Jan 09, 2017 01:11pm

The mess created and generated by MQM and its cronies over a period of the last three long decades is not very easy to clean.

Phone snatching is only one of them.

Bewildered Jan 09, 2017 01:30pm

@Dr. SalariA, Aamir Ahmad I am disappointed to read your comments. The first part is OK where of course MQM is responsible for destruction of law and order in the city. However, singling them out for mobile snatching is unjustified.

Karachi operations have broken the back of MQM criminals. Now who is doing all these street crimes in Karachi. Just read the names of thugs and criminals who are caught or killed in Karachi. The great majority of them are Afghanis, Bengalis, Lyiarites, etc.

Abdul Wahab Jan 09, 2017 01:37pm

the police is actually supporting these petty criminals to do these snatchings and later share the proceeds, if police wanted to stop these crimes, they can very easily stop, but there is not will.

Bewildered Jan 09, 2017 01:37pm

@shafi Absolutely right. In Sindh police, a majority of constables and officers have been transferred to Karachi from interior Sindh to make as much money as possible for their masters (Zardari clan in particular). A good number of policemen are bonafide criminals and thugs. There is no denying the fact that police is actually patronizing street crimes in Karachi.

BAXAR Jan 09, 2017 02:02pm

@Dr. SalariA, Aamir Ahmad "The mess created and generated by MQM". Either it is not eliminated, or the mess was not created by it. At least acknowledge one of the facts. If the criminals are active, they must have protection from powerful quarters. Do some maths before pushing mathematical theories. A-A=0, however long A "was".

asad Jan 09, 2017 02:12pm

No pain for locals, because recruitment from locals are negligible in LEAs

Talha Jan 09, 2017 02:24pm

Even a common man like me is aware that you take control of the following locations i.e.Disco Bakery [Gulshan-e-Iqbal], Aladin Park, Continental Bakery [Gulshan-e-Iqbal], Dolmen Mall and Millennium Mall, by having a ranger operation in Shanti Nagar / Makrani Para. It has been an illegal slum which is now a major hub of these gangs.

Truth Jan 09, 2017 02:37pm

Is there any place in Karachi which is NOT a 'hot sport' for mobile snatching, car jacking, robberies or random shootings?

The whole city is a large ghetto which essentially needs to be raised to the ground and rebuilt. That may get rid of the entire cesspool and clear the swamp. I have not met a single person in the entire city who feels safe anywhere around the sprawling dump, especially after sunset.

Alba Jan 09, 2017 02:44pm

This is the way city police work should be done.

A dejected karachiite Jan 09, 2017 03:24pm

We want local police system working under the command of elected mayor. This is the only solution for the law and order problems of this city....period....full-stop!

remove slums from karachi Jan 09, 2017 03:32pm

Almost all the slums in the form of pockets in every nook and corner of this city are the hiding and breeding grounds of every kind of terrorist and criminal here.

We all know this fact. There are two things that can be done to address this issue. Either remove these slums or develop a strong network of intelligence to catch these criminals.

However, decriminalizing police is a very challenging and difficult task since Karachi police is highly politicized and criminalized and its patrons are sitting in Sindh Government.

Logicaldude Jan 09, 2017 05:34pm

It is public knowledge that sponsors of crimes in Karachi and enforcers of law are working together. High crime rate suits the Sindh police just fine, it is a big source of revenue, and gives them excuse for a big foot print to keep their political opponents under the thumb.

Syed Imtiaz abbas Jan 09, 2017 06:24pm

It will increase and more worst is expected as Nawaz / Zardari are going to shut Military Courts and remove rangers.

victim Jan 09, 2017 07:52pm

@shafi yes with their due share. federal intervention is necessary.

Skeptic Jan 09, 2017 08:01pm

Hmmm. let me see 60 ares are 'hot spots' where your Mobile could be snatched?

Sounds like targeted Market Segmentation? There must be areas where they only snatch your car? Then another why they only specialize in snatching your purse or wallet, or jewelry and watches?

I bet in some are of the city, you could lose a lot more than just your car or mobile!

I hate to imagine what other 'specializations' are practiced in this dangerous city.

Karachi was, comparatively speaking, much more peaceful and progressive paradise back in the 60s and 70s, where people were sophisticated and no one craved such materialistic comforts so brazenly.

OhWell Jan 10, 2017 01:58am

In Punjab I felt safer when there was police around. When I go to Karachi, I'm not only scared of the snatchers, I'm also scared of the "legal" robbers, AKA the police. With such a record of corruption, how can anyone expect the police to catch the bad guys there?

Worthless Wealth. Jan 10, 2017 07:24am

I have personally seen police riding motorbike following young house maids going to job in the morning and returning home either in the afternoon or evening.

Besides, even after having caught the culprit red handed, he has the only choice to let the culprit loose; of course after his palm has been greased, rather than let the opportunity to pass over to someone above him.

The game of commission of crime is sponsored by none other than the police itself, they know each and every individual criminal involved. The ones caught by police are innocent young boys from good families, and add to their income by doubling the game.

adnan shamim Jan 10, 2017 11:04am

wah saeen wah.... it looks like they have named every areas of karachi where people normally go.

KT Jan 10, 2017 11:32am

Find and destroy roots of this evil plant of crime and leaves [ that is snatchers and robbers ] will automatically dry up. Backtrack to the heads who are behind this act.

Gypsy Jan 10, 2017 02:19pm

If anyone in government cares about such crimes, they can be controlled very easily. There are cameras everywhere, hunt the criminals down, give them exemplary punishment, and the crime will reduce drastically. But only if someone wants to do it.

Aftab Jan 10, 2017 03:44pm

Do you guys think there should be a "mobile anti-theft assistance" service which helps the victims to track & locate their snatched phone and provide them enough info to take help from CPLC for recovery of phone?

ZAK Jan 10, 2017 09:13pm

We should have a mobile anti theft force to deal with the situation immediately.

saeeds Jan 10, 2017 11:05pm

who are snatcher most of them are our family ,friends or colleague . First of all we are not stopping them than if they got caught we used all illegal way to get them out. Every thing start from home and our home creating criminal.

Javid Abbas Jan 11, 2017 01:08am

@MSUH Dear brother it is the police in plain clothes who is doing this and who will catch them.

SAEED PK Jan 11, 2017 12:32pm

Snatching valuable not only in Karachi but also in Islamabad High way. Just yesterday night at around 11pm near Loi Bhir, 4 persons riding on bicycles forcefully stopped a car and snatched money. Is there any law / force to stop such snatching?

erum Jan 12, 2017 02:32pm

I live near gulzar-e-hijri thana..stret crime is very common here

erum Jan 12, 2017 02:35pm

@Bewildered whoever is behind this crime,police & LEA are responsible to control the situation.

akram Jan 12, 2017 11:23pm

are these really hot spots or are they the location of gangs dedicated to this crime? CCTV is needed to keep an eye on and provide evidence for such crimes.