KARACHI: In a clear sign of fear and growing sense of insecurity among Karachiites because of rising street crimes during which many residents have lost their lives, a recent study finds that more than two-thirds of the population of the metropolis have experienced such incidents one way or the other and almost one-fourth have directly suffered the loss due to prevailing situation of armed robberies and snatching of valuables at gunpoint.

“We carried out a study in all seven districts of the city that suggests that an increase in street crimes is making Karachiites more frightened and making them feel more insecure,” said Kashif Hafeez of Pulse Consultant, a research organisation with nationwide operations.

In its recent study, it reached out to hundreds of people in Karachi and put questions to them about their experiences regarding growing street crimes in the metropolis.

“The response, as feared, showed a very serious and alarming situation. Some 69 per cent, or you can say seven out of 10 people, we reached out reported that someone in their family circle or friends has been victim to street crime,” said Mr Hafeez.

The data of the study acquired by Dawn says more than that.

Apart from two-thirds population who directly know the victims of street crimes in their circle, almost quarter of them are victims by themselves of such incidents.

The study, carried out among the people aged between 16 years and 55 years, says that 23pc of Karachiites have directly suffered and lost belongings to street criminals.

It emerged just days after the street crimes data compiled by police surfaced showing an increase in number between January and September compared to the same period of the last year. The data shows that there was an increase in snatching of mobile phones and motorbikes and theft of four-wheelers and two-wheelers.

However, the official data is not a true indicator of the situation on the ground as it is an open secret that countless people who have fallen prey to street crimes in the metropolis during the same period had either decided not to approach the police due to a huge trust deficit or their FIRs were not registered by the law-enforcers.

Murder or injury during robberies reduced up to 6.62pc, house robberies decreased by 20.98pc, car snatching saw a 29.34pc decrease, but what we did see was a significant increase in snatching of mobile phones — a total increase of 18.3pc.

“While approaching people directly to know about their experiences in their neighbourhoods or family circle, we had also asked them about their workplaces,” said Mr Hafeez.

“It was just to match or counter-check the facts. Such series of questions or interviews remove maximum doubts and bring out nearest possible accurate results reflecting ground realities. So at their workplaces, 63 per cent said that someone in their workplace, whether it’s an office or a business colleague, did face an incident of street crime in recent past,” he added.

Published in Dawn, October 27th, 2022

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