Street crime epidemic

Equally troubling is the erosion of public trust in law enforcement agencies

April 07, 2024


The staggering statistics on street crime in Karachi, as revealed before a recent high-level security meeting a few days back, paint a grim picture of the city’s security landscape. With over 250 Karachiites shot dead and more than a thousand wounded by street criminals between 2022 and 2024, the alarming escalation of violence demands urgent attention. This drastic spike is a concerning trend that cannot be brushed aside as a mere statistical anomaly.

Senior police officials have pointed to skyrocketing inflation and growing economic difficulties over the past three years as key factors contributing to the surge in violent street crimes. Indeed, economic hardship often serves as a breeding ground for desperation and criminal behaviour, as individuals resort to extreme measures to make ends meet. However, blaming economic woes alone would be overlooking critical systemic issues within law enforcement itself. The accusation of “bad policing”, particularly at lower levels, sheds light on the need for comprehensive reform within the police force. Equally troubling is the erosion of public trust in law enforcement agencies, leading citizens to take matters into their own hands and resist criminals. This dangerous cycle of vigilantism only serves to add to tensions and escalate violence, undermining the rule of law and exacerbating the sense of insecurity among residents. Therefore, efforts to combat crime must be accompanied by initiatives aimed at addressing root causes such as poverty, inequality and lack of opportunity.

The epidemic of street crime in Karachi demands a comprehensive and multi-faceted response from authorities. This includes not only addressing economic challenges and reforming law enforcement practices but also fostering community engagement, rebuilding trust between police and citizens and addressing the underlying socio-economic factors that drive criminal behaviour.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 7th, 2024.

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