LAHORE: The provincial capital Lahore surpasses Karachi and Islamabad in controlling crime and moves 36 steps down from the 138th position with crime index 46.9 in 2018 to 174th (42.06) this year.
The World Crime Index for 2019 released the periodically updated crime status of 319 mega cities of the world, including three of Pakistan – Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.
Karachi and Islamabad dropped 11 and six notches, respectively, in the list of the cities reporting bad crime rate.
According to the periodically updated Crime Index 2019, Islamabad ranks 232 with crime index of 32.88 and Karachi 61 with 58.43 crime index.
In 2018, Karachi ranked 50 with crime index 62.20 and Islamabad 226 (38.05) that showed both the cities improved their positions during a period of one year or so.
Provincial metropolis, Karachi, Islamabad drop 36, 11 and six notches, respectively on World Crime Index 2019
As for the rest of the world, Abu Dhabi was the safest city in the world with 319th position [10.97 crime index].
However, the worst city among them is Caracas, Venezuela, by holding 1st position with a crime index of 83.10 while UK’s Birmingham ranks 80 in the list with an index of 55.68 in 2019.
The World Crime Index 2019 shows China’s Beijing and India’s Kolkata among the worst in crime control by attaining 94th position with crime index 52.79 and 105th slot (50.69).
This reporter talked to many senior police officers of Lahore to discuss the factors which led to improvement in crime situation in the city.
An official said the Lahore police’s incumbent management adopted a distinct approach by identifying and addressing chronic issues affecting police performance.
“In order to address crime effectively through meticulous data analysis, we divided police stations of the city in three categories i.e. A, B and C, based on the prevalence of crime in that specific area,” the official said.
Of them, 35 police stations were listed in category ‘A’ with 69 per cent reported crime, 25 in ‘B’ (23pc) and 24 police stations in ‘C’ reported only 8pc crime.
Under the previous strategy, the equal shares of resources were allocated to all the police stations for addressing the crime activities instead of focusing on those reporting highest crime.
“After a detailed working on the crime maps, we redefined crime beats and crime hotspots in the provincial capital,” he said.
Previously, Lahore police had 277 functional beats, he said adding that under the new arrangement, the number was raised to 435, giving the respective staff rationalised workload.
One of the salient features of the strategy was that the SHOs and other staff of the category-A police stations were exempted from all security and law and order duties, enabling them to focus purely on crime control.
Another important step that helped bring the crime ratio down was the rationalisation of the human resource, the police official said.
Lastly, he said, the authorisation/allocation of human resource for police stations in Lahore was done in 1998.
However, in last 20 years, population of Lahore precisely doubled i.e. from 5.4 million in 1998 to 11.1m in 2019.
The police stations of Lahore were working on the same old authorisation which was causing severe administrative and operational problems.
“We undertook an arduous exercise spreading over three months wherein human resource requirements of every single unit including police stations, police posts, security duties etc. were worked out,” he said.
This had resulted in provision of more than 2,000 officials to police stations for operational duties, the official said adding that 300 motorbikes were provided to top 150 beats for ensuring effective crime control.
The police authorities also streamlined security and law and order duties by providing dedicated strength of 2,500 employees for the purpose of relieving SHOs and SDPOs of additional duties which were taking a heavy toll on the crime control efforts, he said.
Monitoring mechanism of 15 calls was also another major initiative in this regard, he said. “Since Rescue 15 is the primary police access line for citizens; hence we have given due importance to this important segment,” he said.
In another first initiative of its kind, 160 node points were identified in the Lahore city which enabled police to effectively check and monitor movement of maximum commuters in the city and to keep an effective check on crime pockets that resulted in reduction in incidents of crime, he said.
The officials from police stations, Dolphin and PRU squads were deployed at these spots with the objective to focus purely on crime control.
This intervention created a major impact on reducing crime and improved police response in the city.
In addition to the aforementioned steps, the authorities formed 150 special operations teams in the police stations to arrest proclaimed offenders and target offenders.
Each team was headed by an SI/ASI, exempting them from all the routine duties, he said adding the initiative hit a breakthrough as they arrested 1,379 POs during first three months of 2019 compared to 357 nabbed in 2018, the official said.
He said over 1,000 habitual and active criminals of Lahore were also identified through a detailed analysis of criminal records and the teams were assigned task to ensure arrests.
Similarly, the 15 call-based crime mapping and analysis was conducted to curb the tendency of burking.
Published in Dawn, April 26th, 2019