Climate of Crime in Lahore

The notion of Lahore being a secure haven for residents has been rendered obsolete by the recent wave of street crime. The alarming surge in incidents such as armed robbery, vehicle theft, and dacoity have shattered the peace of the city, with over 400 cases being registered on a daily basis. The citizens of Lahore now find themselves living in a state of constant fear and apprehension, as their once tranquil surroundings have been replaced by an atmosphere of unease and insecurity.

Now and then we hear stories of people getting robbed on the streets and home while a handful of criminals are brought to the book. A former superintendent police Farhat Abbas has been shot at his doorsteps in Lahore a couple of days ago, and is now in a precarious condition. Similarly, the series of attacks by Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan ( TTP ) on Counter Terrorism Department ( CTD ) in Karachi stand as question marks on these institutions.

Recently, Balakh Sher Khosa, a vibrant and reputable lawyer of the Supreme Court of Pakistan who handles high profile cases, was attacked and shot in broad daylight. The reason might not be an armed robbery, but it serves as a stark reminder of the mushrooming crime wave in Lahore. Fortunately, Mr. Balakh Sher survived the attack.

Several other cases are being reported on daily basis. One of my gym mates, Dr Junaid Malik who is an Orthopedic Doctor at General Hospital Lahore was robbed outside the gym and was shot in his lungs, fortunately, he remained alive and robbers were arrested.

With increase in crime rate fear can be seen among people in Lahore. The vast majority of people are now avoiding carrying valuable items on them while going out. People are also hesitating to go out at night and suspiciously see everyone near them. The citizens of Lahore are now carrying weapons to protect themselves in case of any robbery.

The recent surge in crime rates can be attributed to a multitude of factors, one of which is the unrestricted availability of illegal weapons in the province of Punjab. This unfortunate reality has enabled criminals to easily procure such weapons, subsequently employing them to perpetrate acts of violence and robbery against innocent citizens. Pakistan’s persistent struggle to curb population growth, unemployment, and poverty has also played a significant role in the escalating crime rates. The nexus between these underlying issues and the uptick in criminal activity cannot be ignored, as they continue to exacerbate an already dire situation. It is high time for the authorities to take decisive action to address these root causes and prevent further harm to society.

Another major reason for the rising crime rate in Lahore is the use of stolen motorbikes in criminal activities, which poses a challenge for law enforcement authorities like the police and Safe City authority in their efforts to track down perpetrators. While the Safe City authority claims to have installed cameras throughout the city, the use of fake number plates by criminals renders the cameras ineffective. In response to the escalating crime, the Inspector General of Punjab has launched night surveillance patrols. However, despite these efforts, citizens remain concerned for their safety and feel that the police have failed to effectively address the problem.

The political instability in Pakistan has also contributed to the surge in crime rates, as the government and police are primarily focused on controlling the situation at Zaman Park, neglecting the rising crime rate in Lahore.

The increasing rates of inflation and unemployment have led to a rise in deviant behavior among the younger generation. Many of the arrested criminals appear to have fallen victim to a combination of socio-cultural and economic factors, as they were forced to turn to criminal activities due to overwhelming burdens of responsibility.

Lahore needs some serious attention as the crime rate is increasing on daily basis and it does not seems to be controlled. Yet, to counter crime, the authorities must first eradicate the causes that lead to these crimes i.e. extreme income inequality, asymmetrical distribution of wealth and abject poverty. Government and law enforcement agencies need to come to the same page in an effort to make cities peaceful.