Aug 17 - 23, 2009

Street crime is a loose term for criminal offences taking place in public places. It has moved to occupy the place once held by mugging. Street crime is robbery, often called 'mugging', and also includes thefts from victims in the street where property is snatched.

Crime on the streets of a city may include many other types of offences, for example pick pocketing, the open carrying-on of the illegal drugs trade, prostitution in the form of soliciting outside the law, the creation of graffiti and vandalism of public property, and assaults. As a generic term, street crime may include all of these, as well as offences against private property such as the stealing of hubcaps.

Street crimes have always been a problem in big cities. The terrorists also hit the city of Lahore, as they targeted FIA regional office, Rescue 1122 building, Naval office, Manawan Training Centre, and Sri Lankan cricketers that not only claimed precious lives but also scared the Lahorites apart from painting bad image of the country. The incidents of snatching jewellery, mobile phones purse, etc. are also reported in routine.

According to security experts, crime is a serious concern throughout Pakistan, with violent crime (carjacking, armed robberies) increasing faster than any other category, especially in major urban areas. Petty crime is common across the country. Lahore and Karachi, in particular, are beset by poverty and high unemployment. The incidence of street crime and burglaries has increased considerably in the past year. At least one instance of cash being stolen from a safe in a room at a major hotel chain has been reported recently. Carjackings are on the increase, especially in Islamabad and Lahore. Sport-utility vehicles and double-cab pickup trucks are particular targets.

When driving, keep vehicle doors locked and windows rolled up. Kidnapping for both political and economic reasons is a threat nationwide, especially in rural areas and in cities known to have high crime rates, such as Karachi and Lahore. Hundreds of cases have been reported annually in recent years. In areas where kidnapping is a threat, it is important to maintain a low profile and do not let your actions or movements become predictable. Do not do, say, or wear anything that draws attention to yourself or your nationality. In areas where credit-card fraud is a problem, one should keep an eye on card during any transaction you make and get the card back as soon as you can. Police are eager to assist, but despite recent reforms, law-enforcement officers are underpaid, generally ill equipped, and ill trained.

According to a police report 1,989 cases of street crimes were reported in 2006 and 1,648 in 2005; 960 cases of jewellery snatching were reported in 2006 and 879 in 2005; at least 486 cases of cell phones snatching were reported in 2006 and 301 in 2005; and 367 cases of purse and cash snatching were reported in 2006 as compared to 261 in the corresponding year.

On the other hand, the city police remained clueless about a large number of cases. Failure of police in curbing street crime speaks volumes for poor control of police. City police division once again topped the other five divisions of Lahore police as around 121 cases of crime against property were reported, out of which 33 motorcycles and eight cars were also snatched or lifted.

Street crime in the city division is always challenging for the divisional head. Sadar division remained second in all divisions with 66 reported incidents during the last two weeks out of which 10 motorcycles and six cars were also stolen or stanched. Cantt division remained third with 63 reported incidents out of which seven motorcycles and 11 cars were also snatched or lifted. Iqbal Town division remained fourth in crime against property with 60 reported incidents out of which 13 motorcycles and seven cars were also snatched or lifted. Model Town division was calculated on fifth number with 55 reported incidents of street crime, house robberies, cars and motorcycle snatching and theft. Civil Lines division was calculated on the last number with 53 reported incidents of which eight motorcycles and six cars were also stolen or snatched.