Lahore: Crime rate dips as several gangs ‘eliminated’
LAHORE: The overall crime rate in Punjab has dropped slightly with kidnappings for ransom almost under control if compared with the cases registered in the province last year. Interestingly, the armed ‘encounters’ between the police and the gangsters registered a considerable increase as compared with the last year. During background interviews, many police officers argued that encounters helped police in bringing down the crime rate since the hardened criminals were left with no option but to go underground to save their lives.
The police have registered a total of 167,942 cases of crimes during the first five months of this year (from January to May 2012) while last year at least 170,824 cases had been registered during the same period, suggesting a decrease of 2,882 cases.
However, the conviction rate has decreased substantially because poor investigations are hampering the prosecution of crimes cases of heinous nature. For instance, no less than 30,976 accused have been convicted during the first five month of this year, but last year 31,340 accused had been convicted during the same period. The poor conviction rate has also put a big question mark on the working of the Investigation Wing of the law enforcement agency, indicating faulty or ineffective investigations.
According to official data, at least 124 alleged gangsters were killed during 147 encounters, mostly staged in different parts of the province, since January 2012. No less than 15 policemen have lost their lives during the encounters this year so far. Last year, at least 120 encounters had been reported during the same period in which the police had eliminated 85 alleged criminals.
Sources revealed that the police staged dozens of encounters across the province to eliminate most of the gangs involved in kidnappings for ransom. According to the police record, at least 75,000 proclaimed offenders (POs) were at large in Punjab last year and this year more than 65,000 POs are reported to be at large across the province.
As far as kidnappings for ransom are concerned, at least 63 cases have been reported all over Punjab till June 1, of which 18 were cancelled, 29 were challaned and 13 are under investigations with only three cases yet to be untraced.
During the same period last year, the provincial police registered at least 107 cases of kidnapping for ransom of which 20 cases were declared untraceable and the police had submitted challans of only 70 cases before the courts.
The incidents of dacoities, robberies and auto–lifting have also registered a slight decrease this year if compared with the previous year. According to the police record, at least 3,278 cases of murders had been reported in the first five months of 2011 while this year 2,569 cases were registered till May. According to police, 73 murder cases are yet to be traced in the province. Police sources said that the killers, who are at large in multiple killings, are emerging as most desperate gangsters because they killed more people when the police were unable to arrest them.
The police have registered 8,897 cases of vehicle theft this year, while no less than 10,900 vehicles were stolen during the first six months of 2011. Dacoits struck no less than 1,575 times in different parts of Punjab and took away cash, gold ornaments and other valuables worth millions of rupees while police submitted challans of only 763 cases. Last year, at least 1,694 cases of dacoities had been reported and the police had submitted the challans of 775 cases before the courts.
Robbers hit the province for no less than 10,000 times during the first six months in 2011; while the police have reported 8,303 cases of robbery this year till May 2012. Sources claimed that the police are adopting ‘aggressive’ policy to hunt down the hardened criminals since Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had given a free hand to the police to decide the fate of the desperate criminals.
Last week, while addressing a high-level meeting at the Central Police Office, Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) Muhammad Habib-ur–Rehman ordered the police to continue the hot-pursuit policy to eliminate hardened criminals wanted by the police in multiple cases of heinous crimes.
Many police officers believe that the aggressive policy helped police bring down the rising crimes such as armed robberies, kidnappings for ransom and auto–snatching, besides creating a sense of security among the masses. The police have also launched a crackdown against POs at large-scale across the province and each station house officer (SHO) has been given the task to nab them.