KARACHI: A comparative analysis of crime pattern during the month of Ramazan over the past three years has revealed that the number of street crime incidents has decreased with an overall drop in major crime incidents owing to the ongoing targeted operations in the city besides other factors. But police officials admitted that much more was needed to be done to improve the situation, it emerged on Tuesday.
The analysis of day-to-day crime, which has been conducted by the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) of police and Citizens-Police Liaison Committee (CPLC), revealed that no bank was looted in the city during Ramazan.
Police plan to privatise Madadgar 15 helpline to ‘improve performance’
The officials believed that some efforts such as outsourcing of police’s Madadgar 15 to a ‘third party’ and designating police mobile vans at each police station to respond to emergency calls were under way, but the crucial aspect of tackling street crime by focusing on technology through installation of CCTV cameras at two dozen designated hotspots was yet to materialise.
The crime record of the three years showed that the number of automobiles snatched during Ramazan was 31 in 2015, 14 in 2016 and 13 this year. Similarly, the number of automobiles stolen during Ramazan was 160 in 2015, 139 in 2016 and 111 this year. Motorbike theft and snatching also dropped over these years. The data revealed that 250 motorbikes were snatched in 2015, 226 the next year and 155 this year. However, the number of motorbike theft cases increased from 1,708 in 2015 to 2,110 in 2016 but reduced this year to 2,018.
Like vehicle snatchings, the number of mobile phone snatchings reduced significantly during the holy month over these years. In all, 1,512 mobile phones were snatched at gunpoint in 2015, 1,060 mobile phones the next year and 772 this year. However, the number of mobile phone thefts increased from 1,230 to 1,437 last year but reduced this year to 1,147.
Extortion, kidnapping for ransom
The data showed that 13 cases of extortion and one case of kidnapping for ransom had been reported during Ramazan two years ago to the CPLC and police. While no kidnapping for ransom case was reported in 2016 and 2017, the number of extortion cases reduced from nine to seven.
As many as 42 people lost their lives in the month of Ramazan in 2015 on account of various factors including street crimes. The number of people killed in the next Ramazan remained exactly the same. However, this year the number of killings dropped to 26.
“These figures of the last three Ramazans in context of street crimes in the CTD database reconciled with the neutral CPLC data that showed decrease in all heads of street crimes in the month of Ramazan,” said CTD chief Additional IGP Dr Sanaullah Abbasi.
However, Dr Abbasi admitted that there could be instances of street crimes which were never reported to police or the CPLC.
The CTD chief was of the opinion that a decrease in major crimes, including terror attacks, might have positively impacted street crime in the city. He also admitted that street crime was a “cognitive reality” and still there was greater room for improvement.
CPLC chief Zubair Habib told Dawn that the graph of major heads of street crime was on the decline in the metropolis, yet concrete steps were needed to improve the situation. He was of the opinion that one of the factors adversely impacting street crime was shortage of police manpower.
Mr Habib said the army had recently completed training of around 5,000 to 6,000 newly recruited policemen and hopefully when they would be deployed in the field, the issue of shortage of manpower would be addressed to some extent.
Madadgar 15 being outsourced
Besides, the CPLC chief said, the police Madadgar 15 helpline would be outsourced to a “private party” to address the complaints of the general public that the police did not respond in a timely manner to their emergency calls. The move was in the final stage as a tender to this effect would be issued soon, he added.
He said that private persons equipped with modern equipment would attend emergency calls of citizens, but their performance would be monitored both by the CPLC and the police department.
Sindh IGP A.D. Khowaja had promised to dedicate at least 100 vehicles — one vehicle at each police station — to respond to emergency calls of citizens, after the Sindh government had pledged to provide such number of mobile vans to the police department.
Asked about the installation of CCTV cameras at the hotspots where street crime was rampant, the CPLC chief said that the project was still in the implementation stage.
Published in Dawn, July 5th, 2017