In the recent past the police increased the number of pickets and launched search operations after the reports that terrorists might be hiding in the city.

These measures, according to the police, also help to bring down street crimes. But that is not the case in Rawalpindi. The first two months of the current year has seen worrying increase in crime in the district.

The city is also witnessing a surge in crime, forcing the people to fend for themselves. The fear of robberies, or being mugged, is changing the lifestyle. People now think twice before going out for shopping or even for a walk after dark.

Requesting anonymity, a retired police officer who has been recently robbed by gunmen feels embarrassed when his children ask him about increase in such incidents. To make his children feel 'safe' he has put 'razor wire' on the outer wall of his home and installed CCTV cameras. “I have tried to do everything possible to make my home safe,” he said.

In the first two months of 2011, robberies, burglaries, vehicle snatching, and murders have gone up in the district, registering a marked increase when compared to the same period of 2010.

Statistics show that the valuables worth more than Rs330 million have been snatched in January and February this year – much more than goods worth more than Rs110 million forcibly taken away in the same period last year.

A total of 2,661 cases were recorded with the police in the first two months of the current year compared to the 2,548 cases registered in the same period in 2010. Of the total number of crimes registered with the police, 60 murder and 99 attempted murder cases were registered in the two months in 2011 compared to 45 and 50 in the same period in 2010.

There were 138 robberies, including wallet and purse snatching, 112 burglaries and 146 thefts in the Rawalpindi district in the two months of the current year compared to the 114 robberies, 89 burglaries and 108 thefts in the same period in 2010.

In January and February this year, 155 cars, 158 motorbikes and 43 other vehicles have been taken away by thieves compared to 141 cars, 93 motorbikes and 78 other vehicles in the same period last year. The market value of the stolen cars was estimated by the police at Rs350 million. But the value of the recovered vehicles is only a little more than Rs4.4 million.

When the RPO was contacted for comments on the street crimes, he said he would be in a position to reply after reviewing the statistics.

Though police have been arresting the culprits involved in these crimes, there seems to be no let up in the incidents of robberies. A few days back, a senior police officer was 'jubilant' over tracing five members of a robbers' gang, failing to realising that the task of making the district and the city relatively safe is much more than this.

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