Lahore: Robbers go furious in the month of fasting
LAHORE: Two high-profile kidnappings, five robbery murders and a couple of major dacoities in the Punjab capital in the month of Ramazan have exposed poor security arrangements and flawed crime-prevention techniques by the field police.
Official statistics available with Dawn state that crime against property and kidnap-for-ransom incidents witnessed an alarming increase in the ongoing Ramazan as compared to the corresponding Ramazans of 2009 and 2010.
Operations police, according to information provided to reporters in August, claim they arrested 363 proclaimed offenders, 549 court absconders and 366 with past criminal record while the deputy inspector general (DIG), operations, held two news conferences and claimed that police arrested 36 criminals of multiple gangs.
Similarly, a handout issued by the capital city police office on July 31, claimed that more than 8,000 policemen and 160 police mobile squads would perform duty across the city under the much-touted Ramazan security plan.
Another handout issued to the media on Aug 9 cited the CCPO as saying that over 10,000 policemen would perform duty on the eve of the Independence Day. All these tall claims were challenged by anti-law elements which kidnapped US citizen Dr Warren Weinstein from his residence in Model Town on Aug 13 and slain Salmaan Taseer’s son, Shahbaz Taseer, in Gulberg on Aug 26. Police see ransom behind these kidnappings.
Besides the two kidnappings, robbers shot dead five people on street and looted expensive effects and cash worth Rs35 million in house and godown robberies.
Statistics show that 372 dacoities, robberies and street crimes were reported till Ramazan 28 this year as compared to 361 in 2010 and 347 in 2009.
Also, 310 robberies and 24 dacoities were reported till Aug 28, 2011, as compared to 280 and 16 reported in the corresponding period of 2010.
Interestingly, five robbery-cum-murder cases were reported till Ramazan 28 while last year, the number was nine. Up to 259 multiple thefts were reported in this Ramazan.
Police registered three cases of kidnapping for ransom in August 2011 as compared to two in August 2010.
According to a field police officer, an average of five robbery/street crime are being reported in each police division every day which means that 30 such incidents are committed in the Lahore district every day.
Speaking to Dawn, the officer said police statistics were based on those incidents which were reported to the police.
He said police’s crime prevention techniques included patrolling, picketing, snap-checking, decoy operations, search and sweep and combing. He added the arrest of even one gang could bring down crime rates fast. Another officer said an average of 20 robberies and street crimes were being reported in the first 20 days of Ramazan and the figures almost doubled in the last 10 days.
The officer said the police patrolling and checking at pickets was not effective, adding that the police emergency response time to any incident was also slow.
DIG Operations Ghulam Mehmood Dogar admitted that the crime in some categories witnessed an increase in this Ramazan as compared to last year.
He, however, claimed registration of few additional cases every year compared to the corresponding year was because of rising population and free registration of FIRs. He said crimes usually increased because of increasing population, unemployment and poverty.
The DIG said officials at police stations were not sufficient to curb street crime in residential areas.
He said police were deployed at all important places for Ramazan duties and it was not possible to engage all cops only for patrolling duties.