RAWALPINDI: Despite stay-at-home and social distancing orders during the coronavirus crisis, a wave of street crimes, including robberies, thefts, mobile phone snatching and vehicle thefts, continued to plague the Rawalpindi district in April.

But some crimes, especially house burglaries, murder and rape cases, slightly dropped.

According to statistics collected from the police department, 312 motorcycles were stolen from different areas of the garrison city along with 50 cars and 27 other vehicles, including rickshaws and pick-up vans.

Likewise, 159 robbery cases were reported in which citizens were robbed of cash, gold jewellery and other valuables.

As many as 167 cases of general theft and 150 reports of street crimes were reported to the police. In addition, 78 incidents of kidnapping of women were reported during the month.

Moreover, on average, 10 mobile phones were snatched every day during the month.

The coronavirus pandemic has brought changes from economic distress, unemployment, disruption of schooling and public health. But police claimed that there had been a considerable decrease in crimes in the garrison city compared to the last year.

A spokesman said the police had been registering cases lodged by citizens without any hindrance due to which it looks as if there was an increase in the crimes.

“But free registration of cases has been productive for the police as accused are arrested in large numbers due to registration of FIRs.”

Police had not been taking mobile phone snatching incidents as a serious crime and don’t categorise it as an armed robbery. They take it as ‘mischievous’ incidents in which young people snatch mobile phones and sometimes sold out the expensive ones.

“Police don’t take mobile phone snatching as an armed robbery because weapon is not used during the incident,” said the spokesman, adding there had been 30pc decrease in crimes in Rawalpindi during the first four months compared to the same period in 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic started.

The police claimed that they had busted several gangs and recovered many stolen vehicles last month but their success stories were overwhelmed by the number of robberies, motorcycle, car thefts and general thefts.

Published in Dawn, May 4th, 2021

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