Uptick in crimes – 04 Apr 2023

IT is now becoming an annual tradition. Each year, with the advent of Ramazan, there is a marked increase in reports of criminal activity in major urban centres, leaving citizens feeling unsafe during the holy month. This year has been no different. The papers these days seem to be full of stories of muggings, motorcycle snatchings and car thefts, and also of citizens being killed for resisting robberies or suspected muggers being shot dead in alleged police `encounters`. Though the citizenry has complained loudly each year about the police`s failure to prevent sudden upswings in criminal activity during Ramazan, there has been little improvement, if any. Apparently, our law-enforcement agencies are too preoccupied with political matters to be paying attention to their basic policing responsibilities. Reports from Karachi and Lahore, carried in Monday`s papers, suggest that the police forces of our major cities act quite similarly in resorting to extreme measures to deflect from their overall failure to prevent crimes. In both of these two cities, `encounters` between policemen and alleged robbers in recent days have left several `suspects` killed.

Lahore seems to be suffering a particularly severe surge in criminal activity, with over 90pc of all crimes being committed `at gunpoint`, according to a news report. Dozens of murders have been reported in the city within the first few months of the ongoing year, as well as several kidnappings for ransom.

While more extreme forms of violent crime may require dynamic strategies to tackle, it defies understanding how easily thefts continue to take place. The police should have enough intelligence to be aware of where stolen items like mobile phones and jewellery, or even vehicles like motorcycles and cars, are fenced. For them to still fail to retrieve people`s personal effects, shut down stolen goods dealers, or nab habitual criminals suggests that either they have grown too complacent about their jobs, or something more sinister is afoot.

Read more