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Injuries during robberies, theft of vehicles increased in Karachi in past five months, police data shows

Updated June 11, 2019

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The city police chief says that overall crimes decreased, but street crimes are still a challenge. — DawnNewsTV/File
The city police chief says that overall crimes decreased, but street crimes are still a challenge. — DawnNewsTV/File

KARACHI: Robberies with injuries and theft of vehicles have registered an increase during the last five months of the current year compared to the same period in 2018 though a significant decrease was seen in six other categories of crime — house robberies, street robberies, robberies with murders, mobile phone snatching and snatching of four- wheelers and two-wheelers, it emerged on Monday.

The overall robberies decreased by 8.63 per cent during the last five months from January 1 to May 31 in 2019 as compared to the same period in the previous year, according to the city police’s data about robberies, robberies with murder and injuries and street crimes obtained by Dawn.

House robberies also fell by 14.71pc during this period.

“Fatalities during robberies decreased by 40 per cent during the last five months of 2019 as compared to the same period in year 2018,” according to the crime data. However, there was an eight per cent increase in robberies/dacoities with injuries during the last five months as compared to the same period in the previous year.

The city police chief says that overall crimes decreased, but street crimes are still a challenge

There was also an increase in theft of four-wheelers and two-wheelers as both categories of street crimes registered over five per cent and one per cent increase, respectively, during the last five months of the current year against the same period in 2018.

The city police’s data showed that robberies increased in parts of Malir, West and City districts.

During 2019 up to May 31, 11 suspected robbers were gunned down in alleged encounters while 565 alleged robbers/street criminals were caught red-handed. The police claimed that 1,743 robbers/street criminals had been arrested by the police during the last five months while 3,267 illicit weapons were seized from them.

The crime data shows that during the last five months of 2019, 145 house robberies/dacoities took place in different parts of the city while 170 house robberies had taken place in the same period in 2018, thus a 14.71pc decrease was registered in such robberies.

As many as 831 street robberies/dacoities had taken place in the five months from January to May in 2018 while this year, 716 street robberies had taken place during the same period, which showed a 13.84pc decrease.

During five months of 2018, 25 citizens were killed by criminals while resisting robberies/dacoities, but during the same period this year, 15 persons were killed, showing a 40pc decrease in the murders-cum-robberies category of street crimes.

The data disclosed that 89 persons were shot at and wounded by robbers on resistance in various localities of the metropolis from January to May in 2018 while during the same period in 2019, 97 citizens were injured by robbers, thus a 8.98pc increase was registered in the robberies with injuries category.

The police claimed that 6,226 mobile phones were snatched during the five months of 2018 while during the same period this year, 5,994 mobile phones were snatched at gunpoint, showing a decrease of 3.73pc in mobile phone snatchings.

There was also a decrease in snatchings of cars up to 19pc as 103 cars were hijacked at gunpoint from January to May in 2018, but during the same period in the current year, 83 four-wheelers were snatched.

However, there was a 5.59pc increase in theft of four-wheelers during the last five months of the current year as compared to the same period in the previous year as 510 cars and 483 cars were stolen, respectively.

The police data also showed that 636 motorbikes were snatched at gunpoint from January to May in 2019 while during the same period in 2018, 968 two-wheelers were snatched, thus a 34.30pc decrease was registered in the category of street crime. However, there was a 1.68pc increase in thefts of motorbikes during the same period as 9,635 motorbikes were stolen during the last five months while 9,475 two-wheelers were taken away in 2018 during the same period.

Street crimes still a challenge

The city police chief, AIG Karachi Dr Amir Ahmed Shaikh, said that of the nine major heads of crimes, there was a decrease in six categories. He said Central and West districts were the worst affected, particularly in mobile snatchings and other street crimes, while there was a significant decrease in street crimes in South, East and Korangi districts, partly owing to effective policing.

He said the police analysis of street crimes showed that in theft of four-wheelers and two-wheelers, mostly Suzuki, Crown and Unique were being stolen because their “lock system” was weak. Around 20pc stolen motorbikes were dismantled and their parts sold in Karachi while others, particularly heavy bikes, were taken to Hub in Balochistan for sale. Mostly teenagers were involved in stealing two-wheelers who subsequently handed over the motorbikes to their handlers for disposal.

Mr Shaikh said that 30 to 32 street crimes, including snatchings of mobile phones and cash, were taking place in the metropolis daily and about 12-15 alleged street criminals were being arrested, but he regretted that the people did not lodge complaints at police stations or they did not pursue the case legally.

The police are holding talks with the Karachi Electronics Dealers Association to launch a crackdown against dealers involved in the sale and purchase of snatched mobile phones. Besides, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority had also been approached to block such phones once snatched.

Different teams had been set up, and recently 7,000 to 8,000 snatched mobile phones were recovered and given back to the owners.

Moreover, the number of police personnel was also being increased in the crime-infested areas of the city.

Since the city police were facing resource constraints, a shortage of manpower and equipment for duty, the police were also focusing on increasing community policing to curb street crimes.

Published in Dawn, June 11th, 2019