Rise in Street Crimes in Karachi Ahead of Eid ul-Adha Raises Concerns

White Bakri

As the city of Karachi prepares for the upcoming Eid ul-Adha celebrations, street criminals have been increasingly targeting individuals transporting sacrificial animals, which are being sold for significant amounts of money.

In the first five months of 2023, Karachi witnessed a sharp rise in street crimes, with over 3,000 reported incidents resulting in at least 46 deaths of individuals resisting robberies, according to the Sindh Citizens-Police Liaison Committee (CPLC).

What is particularly alarming is the high number of mobile phone snatchings, with over 21,000 reported cases, along with over 20,000 motorcycles and cars being stolen or snatched. Street criminals in Karachi have escalated their activities from robbing individuals to stealing sacrificial animals and carrying out audacious hold-ups in restaurants and even graveyards, causing distress among the city’s population of over 17 lakh (1.7 million) residents. A new trend observed in recent days involves criminals brazenly stealing sacrificial animals, which have become a lucrative target due to their high value. As a response to this escalating issue, the Sindh police have deployed a special security force at the main animal markets established for the upcoming Eid.

An incident last week highlighted the audacity of these criminals when armed robbers unloaded goats from a moving van while the driver helplessly watched, being threatened by two motorcyclists brandishing guns.

The situation reached a nadir last Saturday when six criminals recorded their exploits on mobile phones while robbing people in a graveyard located in the Korangi area. The authorities were able to identify and apprehend the culprits in the Shershah area, as confirmed by Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Malik Zafar Awan. During the raid, stolen motorcycles, mobile phones, and other valuables were recovered from their hideout in Shershah. The gang was found to be involved in street crimes and home invasions across various parts of the city.

Karachi, known as the 12th largest city in the world and the economic hub of Pakistan, has long been plagued by street crimes, with the impunity of criminals growing due to the city’s weak law enforcement.

Sociologist Dr. Aima Akbar attributes the recent increase in street crimes to the ongoing political and economic turmoil in the country. She believes that criminals have become emboldened due to the prevailing instability, coupled with the acknowledged shortage of manpower within the Sindh police to effectively manage a rapidly expanding city like Karachi.

Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Muhammad Tariq Mughal acknowledged the shortage of police personnel, stating that a special force called the “Shaheens” has been established to combat street criminals. However, with just 128,000 policemen of all ranks currently on duty, it is challenging to patrol every area of the city. Mughal further acknowledged that many street crime incidents go unreported.

Dr. Aima Akbar sheds light on the complex reasons behind the rampant street crimes, citing unemployment and poverty as contributing factors. The lack of job opportunities for qualified youths often leads to frustration and anger, pushing some individuals towards criminal activities. Insufficient law enforcement is also a significant factor contributing to the prevalence of street crime, especially in a populous city like Karachi, with a metropolitan population of 17,236,000. Newly elected Mayor Murtaza Wahab has prioritized collaborating with law enforcement agencies to improve the city’s security situation.

Mayor Wahab emphasized that the provincial government has already taken various measures to enhance law and order, including the establishment of special police units dedicated to tackling street crime. However, he also stressed the need to address the root causes that drive youth towards street crime, such as creating more job opportunities.

As Karachi braces itself for Eid ul-Adha, efforts are being made to combat street crimes and ensure the safety and security of the city’s residents.



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