KARACHI: Snatching of mobile phones and theft of motorbikes registered an increase till Dec 28, 2017 as compared to the same period of the previous year.
However, there had been a significant decrease in targeted killings, bomb-blast related terrorist activities, kidnapping for ransom and money extortion cases, which the law enforcers attribute to the ongoing operation in the metropolis since 2013. The data was prepared by the Karachi police and obtained by Dawn.
Data collected by police from the Citizens-Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) showed an increase in the theft of two-wheelers to 23,190 this year, as compared to 22,535 in 2016 thus registering an increase of 2.91pc. However, snatching of two-wheelers on gunpoint decreased to 2,280 this year as compared to 2,516 in 2016 showing a fall of 9.38pc.
Similarly, 16,232 mobile phones were snatched at gunpoint as compared to previous year’s 16,069, revealing a rise of 1.01pc in this category of street crimes.
Meanwhile, snatching incidents of four-wheelers also decreased in 2017.
Only one incident of terrorism (bomb blast) took place in 2017 in contrast to the previous year’s three
As per the data, a total of 211 four-wheelers were snatched at gunpoint in 2017 as against 230 cars snatched in 2016, registering a decrease of 8.26pc. Moreover, theft of cars depicted a fall of 23.92pc last year. Some 1,183 four-wheelers were stolen as compared to 1,555 cars stolen in 2016.
Barring an increase in mobile phone snatchings and theft of two-wheelers, the city police data demonstrated that the ongoing targeted operation in Karachi had left a significant impact on four major crimes — targeting killings, terrorism (bomb blasts), kidnapping for ransom and extortion.
According to the figures around 22 people had fallen victim to targeted killings in 2017, as against killing of 45 people the previous year, depicting a fall of 51.1pc in this head of the crime.
Crime data also revealed that 562 people were killed on account of personal, other vendetta and street crimes etc in 2017 as compared to 667 people murdered in 2016, showing a decline of 15.7pc.
Police claimed that only one incident of terrorism (bomb blast) took place in 2017 in contrast to the the previous year’s three, portraying a decrease of 66.7pc in the category of terrorism.
As regards to kidnapping for ransom, merely 13 cases were reported in 2017, though 21 such cases were registered in 2016, presenting a drop of 38.1pc in this crime.
Similarly, 116 cases of extortion were reported at various police stations last year round as compared to 160 cases in 2016, demonstrating a reduction of 27.5pc in this crime
Additional Inspector General Police Karachi Mushtaq Ahmed Mahar told Dawn that the overall law and order had improved significantly in the metropolis. However, he admitted that more was needed to control street crimes, particularly with the help of technology.
Though police had enhanced patrolling and picketing, installation of hi-tech CCTVs were required to further curb street crimes. Moreover, controlling street crimes also required standardised number-plates in vehicles and installation of trackers, especifically in motorbikes.
Another issue which police faced in curbing street crimes was traffic jams partly caused by the ongoing development works.
Mr Mahar said they had brought the matter before the concerned authorities that either the development work should be completed at the earliest, or it be carried out at night to avoid traffic jams.
The city police chief believed that most of the street crimes were carried out during traffic jams between 5pm to 11pm, mostly by people living in adjoining slum areas.
He said police was facing shortage of resources as several areas/spots had been identified for installation of CCTVs recently but the police, so far, could install only two CCTVs one at the Submarine roundabout in Punjab Colony and the other at Tipu Sultan Road that too, with the assistance of the citizens.
Besides, 22 CCTVs had been put in place by Ismailis, Bohras and businessmen as part of their neighbourhood watch, hence lowering the crime there.
Mushtaq Mahar said that there was also the manpower scarcity besides the resource shortage.
Recalling security cover to polio workers every month, he said that around 8000 to 9000 security personnel carried out their duties to provide protection to polio workers. Besides, as many as 17 mega events were handled and peacefully guarded by police round the year.
CPLC Chief Zubair Habib had also observed a downward trend in all major crimes except theft of motorbikes. He said that the issue had been taken up in the Apex Committee meeting. Subsequently, three meetings were held by the home minister with all stakeholders present, including the CPLC.
It was also decided in principle that legislation would be introduced to make installation of trackers in motorbikes as ‘mandatory’ and registration of bikes won’t be done without it. Besides, number plates would also be installed on the front of the two-wheelers.
Published in Dawn, January 2nd, 2018