KARACHI: Relative to 2019, car lifting, snatching of motorbikes and cell phones and stealing of two-wheelers rose in the year 2020. In addition, the police reported street crime FIRs more than several years back in an effort to investigate the crimes, officials and sources said on Saturday.
During the same time, however, snatching of cars, abduction for ransom, extorting and bank robberies declined.
There were 1,452 vehicles stolen in 2019 and 1,527 in 2020, according to crime figures collected by the Citizens-Police Coordination Committee (CPLC).
In 2019, 1,897 two-wheelers were equally hijacked, but 2,431 motorcycles were grabbed in 2020.
In 2019, a total of 28,609 bikes were stolen, which in 2020 increased to 34,908.
The number of snatched cell phones in 2019 was 19,862, compared with 21,578 snatched in 2020.
In 2019, eleven people were abducted, but only three abduction cases for ransom were recorded in 2020.
This was deemed a major decline in the category of organised crime following the introduction in September 2013 of a targeted campaign in Karachi. As seen by CPLC results, 115 individuals were kidnapped in 2014 for ransom.
Kidnappings, extortion, bank robberies decreased in the year
Likewise, as 32 cases of extortion were recorded in 2019, which came down to 22 in 2020, bhatta (extortion) has also registered a decrease.
It was pointed out that 937 Bhatta cases were registered in 2014.
Bank robberies have also declined since three bank robbery cases were registered in 2019 and only one bank robbery incident took place in 2020. The data reported that 19 bank robbery cases took place in 2014.
The CPLC statistics shows that 363 people were killed for different causes in 2019, while 385 people were killed in 2020. Yet 1,629 persons were killed in 2014.
Karachi Ghulam Nabi Memon’s Additional Inspector General said organised crime such as kidnapping, targeted killing, extorting and assassination had declined dramatically after as many as 2,800 people were killed in 2013, representing eight murders a day that had been reduced to 1.3 murders a day. Kidnapping for ransom was “almost nil” because two children, Bisma and Dua Mangi, had been abducted last year and only one case was pending.
The town police chief recognised that theft of bicycles and house thefts remain significant problems in street crime. Drug addicts were mostly involved, particularly in lifting bikes as they sold the same for only Rs5,000-Rs10,000.
“As part of a strategy to control street crimes, we have focused on narcotics as raids are carried out at dens and peddlers are arrested as the police have prepared a list of 1,200 peddlers in the city,” Mr. Memon said.
The success of the police against drugs was measured every 15 days.
Furthermore, big explanations for acquittals have been explored. In order to avoid being reprimanded by high-ups, the city police chief remembered a big reason for acquittals and bail of suspects was “delayed” FIRs as SHOs avoided showing a rise in crimes in their respective area, but now the SHOs have been urged to report FIRs immediately for early identification of the crimes.
A second big cause for acquittals, particularly of drug dealers, was the very late dispatch of confiscated drugs to the chemical examiner. That has now been tackled and, as a result, suspects are being prosecuted by model drug courts set up in the metropolis last year.
In addition, as they respond within minutes, the Madadgar-15 response has been dramatically enhanced. The head of the city police said that big house robbery gangs have already been tracked and busted.
CPLC Director Zubair Habib said they made 2014 a “date line” for the metropolitan crime assessment, suggesting a substantial decline in murders when more than 1,600 people were killed in that year, which has now been lowered to 385. He recalled that in 2016, Karachi was 26 in the crime index, but in 2020 it was 103, suggesting a substantial improvement in terms of protection.
Mr Habib said that as snatching cases were being decreased, the use of weapons in street crimes was declining relative to the past. He said that most of the lifted vehicles had been carried to Balochistan. He proposed that at least eight to 10 exchanges should be built on the motorway pattern of the Northern Bypass as there was currently no exchange on the bypass used by criminals to carry vehicles to Balochistan.
He said the factor of robbery in street crimes was rising partly due to unemployment that may have been exacerbated by Covid-19. The White Corolla gang, which recently carried out 15 house robberies in DHA and Clifton, has been busted, he added.
In New Karachi, the CPLC chief said Khamiso Goth has emerged as a major point in the illegal drug trade where police have taken action and similar measures will help regulate street crimes in other parts of the region. He regretted that there had been a time when Madadgar-15 had not replied to reports from people about crimes. For eg, when the son of the then chief justice of the Sindh High Court was abducted, Madadgar-15 did not respond, but now Madadgar-15 responds within seven minutes with efforts from the police and the CPLC, and this response time will be further reduced.
The head of the CPLC said it was a successful initiative for the city police to plan to register FIRs directly after September 2020 to resolve the complaints of the residents. He said that 5,000 FIRs were registered in Sept 2019, but 8,800 FIRs were registered following the police’s initiative in Sept 2020.