Karachi: Criminals on the rampage in 2011
KARACHI: 2011 witnessed its fair share of violence high-profile murders, terrorist attacks and kidnapping for ransom cases with events taking a real turn for the worse during the summer when two major political parties took their feud to the streets of Kati Pahari, resulting in the death of hundreds of innocent citizens.
Although the government claims to have improved the law and order situation in the province, the figures suggest a different story. The metropolis in particular saw a sharp increase in crime rates, with around 1,675 people being killed. Many of those killed belonged to Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamat, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Sunni Tehrikh (ST).
Sources said that areas affected by crime included Quaidabad, Malir, Saudabad, Gulshan, Gulistan-i-Jauhar, SITE, Peerabad, Sohrab Goth, Sachal, Liaquatabad, Sharifabad, Surjani Town, New Karachi, North Karachi Lyari, Sadar, Clifton and others .
The year has seen as many as six bomb blasts that claimed 13 victims, including Rangers and police personnel. The first bomb attack took place at Malir-15 in the Quaidabad police limits on January 25 and killed four people, while the last blast was opposite the Silver Jubilee Gate of Karachi University, in which a motorcyclist lost his life.
Kidnappings for ransom also increased sharply in 2011 and one of the most high-profile cases was that of noted industrialist Riaz Chinoy, who was recovered when the police managed to secure his release after a shootout with the Punjabi Taliban Group. The Ameer of the militant organisation, Qari Shahid, was also killed during the police encounter.
During the year, 106 cases of kidnapping for ransom were reported, of which 96 were solved and 18 gangs were apprehended. Most of the gangs had been apprehended by the Anti-Violent Crime Cell (AVCC) in coordination with the Citizen Police Liaison Committee (CPLC).
Vehicle theft was also rampant during the year with as many as 1,455 cars snatched, while 3,112 were stolen from various parts of the city. In addition to this, 4727 motorcycles were snatched, while a staggering 13,433 were stolen. Cases of stolen vehicles were reported from various parts of the city, including Gulshan, North Nazimabad, Jamshed, Clifton and Shah Faisal Towns.
Of the total number of vehicle theft and snatching cases, 1,262 were reported from Gulshan Town, 542 from North Nazimabad, 531 from Jamshed Town, 447 from Clifton and 387 from Shah Faisal Town. These particular areas were considered as high risk towns and most of the vehicles stolen were Toyotas and Suzukis, with white, grey, blue, black and green being the more popular colours.
Thousands of citizens were also robbed of their cell phones in 2011 and such cases saw a sharp increase despite the fact that pillion riding had been banned at various intervals in the metropolis. A total of 22,800 phones were either stolen or snatched across the city. Up till now, 10,253 cell phones were snatched, while 12,600 mobiles had been stolen. These figures demonstrate that the city witnessed an unprecedented upsurge in various forms of street crime.
However, it was not only the streets that were unsafe for citizens and in addition to over a thousand house robberies, 19 bank heists also took place in 2011.
Sources said that the volatile security situation prompted the police to establish several check posts at the entry and exit points of the city, including one named ’54 kilometres’ that was set up by the Anti-Car Lifting Cell (ACLC). However, despite these measures, the cell’s progress in eradicating vehicle theft was hardly admirable. In addition to this, there was no major recovery of stolen cell phones by the Sindh police in the year 2011.
Citizens will be hoping that law enforcement agencies can get there act together for the new year as insecurity has reached its peak in the metropolis. At certain periods of the year, the spate of target killings instilled a sense of fear among the residents of various areas and many of them were afraid to even step out of their homes.
Another major concern was the alarming surge in bank robberies in 2011 with bandits seemingly robbing various branches at will. Millions of rupees had been looted during these heists and it was towards the second half of the year that a sharp increase in such incidents was seen.
With street crime rates also reaching new heights, many of Karachi’s residents fear they could lose their valuables if they dare to step out of the house or worse yet, their lives.