THE spectre of street crime continues to haunt the residents of Karachi. Despite boasting and bragging by authorities of all shades and hues, the pace of street crime seems has only gained momentum, especially in the last few weeks.

The recent surge in street crimes cross the country’s financial hub accentuates the need for comprehensive steps to curb the menace. It has long been a knotty issue. Thanks to the nonchalant attitude of the authorities and lack of effective measures, the problem has gripped all neighbour-hoods across Karachi. In the wake of each criminal activity, a few policemen spring into action and stay at the spot for a few hours. It is as if they believe that the criminals would be so naïve as to revisit the spot right after the crime. Before long, everyone forgets about the incident, including the police force, and the criminals get back to their notorious ways with renewed vigour.

A strong judiciary can play a crucial role in eradicating street crimes in Karachi by ensuring swift and fair justice, imposing deterrent punishments on offenders, and putting in effective rehabilitation programmes. Additionally, strong collaboration among law-enforcement agencies, judiciary and the community is essential to address the root causes and prevent recurrence of street crimes. Also, the lack of political will to eliminate this problem is problematic because these criminals are often patronised by powerful people who use them to promote their interest in exchange for protection.

Besides, several other factors contribute to the spike in street crimes, including unemployment, poverty and inadequate policing.

The government should implement stringent measures to halt the vicious cycle of street crimes. It is imperative that the authorities concerned address the root causes of street crimes through a multi-pronged approach that may include law-enforcement and socioeconomic initiatives aimed at providing opportunities for the marginalised segments of society.

Moreover, it is high time for greater community involvement in crime prevention endeavours. Citizen patrols and awareness campaigns can play a significant role in minimising criminal activities and fostering a sense of solidarity among the people.

The matter needs to be addressed comprehensively before it spirals out of control. And there should be no doubt that the day is not too far away. Karachi is known for its resilience, but it cannot go on like this forever. No city can go on like that forever.

Khadija Usman Shar
Karachi

Published in Dawn, April 14th, 2024

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