Lahore: Crime graph goes up unabated
LAHORE: Citizens have been deprived of valuables, including cars and motorcycles, worth millions of rupees in the last 10 months despite government and law enforcement agencies’ claims of taking steps to improve law and order situation in the city. A crime data from January to October shows that incidents of robberies and thefts of cars, motorbikes, cell phones and other valuables are on the rise although police continue making claims of busting gangs of criminals. Incidents of vehicle snatching and thefts in the last 10 months have increased 100 percent as compared to the same period in 2011 and 2010.
Citizens are being deprived of 20 to 22 motorbikes, five to six cars, cash, gold ornaments and other valuables worth millions on a daily basis.
Robbers, thieves and gangsters have bypassed all security measures to make the lives of citizens miserable while street crime has become a major problem in the city.
Several teenage boys, proclaimed offenders and even former and serving police officials are involved in such crimes. They rob people of mobile phones, wallets, handbags and watches and even their money in ATMs.
According to the data, at least 35 people have been killed and hundreds injured while resisting robbers in the last 10 months.
Citizens often avoid registering cases with police in order to avoid hassle and repeated visits to police stations.
According to the data, Nauman Ahmad, a citizen, was deprived of his cell phone and cash at gunpoint in broad daylight while he was on his way to a shop in Gulberg.
Abid, another citizen, was going to bazaar near his home in Naulakha when two motorcyclists snatched his mobile phone and money at gunpoint.
A few days ago, two robbers entered Motorway SSP Intisar Jaffery’s house in Defence Housing Society and injured his mother when she resisted them.
In another violent incident, robbers robbed a manager of a private distribution company of at least Rs 4 million and shot him dead when he put up resistance.
Motorcyclists wearing masks deprived Ahsan Waqar, a resident of Iqbal Town, of his cell phone and cash while he was returning to his home after shopping.
Talking to Daily Times, citizens Sohail, Kamran and others said that unemployment, illiteracy, bad governance, misuse of power and poor police’s performance are the major reasons for the rise in crime.
They said that gangs of teenage boys, criminals and proclaimed offenders are “freely moving on city roads on rented motorbikes and depriving innocent citizens of their valuables”.
They said the Punjab government had allocated Rs 64 billion for police in the budget of this year “but still their performance is poor as criminals continue to loot and kill people”.
The citizens said that a large number of police officials have been tasked with protecting VVIPs, government officers and foreigners, adding that “minimum” attention is paid to security and protection of ordinary people.
There has also been a rise in fake encounters by police in the last few months.
It has been observed that when the crime ratio increases, police resort to fake encounters in order to scare criminals.
A fake encounter or a “staged encounter” happens when police kill the suspects in custody or when the suspects are unarmed and then claim that the victims were killed in an encounter when police had to shoot in self-defence.
Sources in police said that the law-enforcement agency has resorted to fake encounters in order to curb street crime.
“Police prefer to kill criminals at the crime scene instead of arresting and try them in a court. In some cases, robbers were arrested, kept in police custody for a while and later killed in an encounter,” sources said.
An official record of police department shows that the force killed at least 184 robbers in “encounters” from January 1 to August 2012 across Punjab.
Sources said that police have “decided in principle to eliminate outlaws through encounters in order to avoid lengthy legal procedures”.
“Conviction ratio is also only two percent and most of the criminals get nominal punishment. Such criminals become hardened criminals when they are released,” sources said.
They said police’s emergency service receive around 100 calls daily, adding, “More than half of such calls are genuine, which means police should register about 60 cases of robberies a day. But police register only 15 to 20 percent cases of robberies and street crimes.”
In order to control crimes in Lahore, police have decided to establish mobile pickets, intensify patrolling and conduct search operations regularly. This was decided at a meeting chaired by IGP Habibur Rehman on Tuesday.
CCPO Aslam Tareen, DIG (operations) Rai Muhammad Tahir, DIG (investigation) Chaudhry Shafique and SSP (operations) Sohail Akhtar Sukhera also attended the meeting.
The IGP said that mobile pickets should be established in Lahore apart from “static” police pickets so that criminals could not flee after committing a crime. The police chief also directed the officers concerned to step up police patrolling all over the city.