Risky dining: Crime stalks the food street on Do Darya

Rising incidents of mugging have sowed considerable unease among citizens.


The map shows volatile areas of the city in terms of cellphone thefts based on data collected between June 1, 2012, and May 31, 2013. The red lines show highly volatile areas while the blue lines show relatively low number of cellphone thefts. SOURCE: CPLC / DESIGN: ANAM HALEEM

KARACHI:


It was a monthly affair for the Mansoors to visit the Do Darya food street and munch on grilled fish at one of the many restaurants overlooking the Arabian Sea against the quaint backdrop of waves crashing against the rocks. But it all changed on May 25 when they vowed to give up their monthly ritual following a mugging incident on Beach Avenue.


“Just as we left the restaurant, two motorcyclists intercepted our car and fled off with my wife’s wedding ring and our mobile phones,” said Umair Mansoor, a computer engineer.

The Do Darya food street, a popular spot with the city’s affluent class, lies at a distance of 3.5 km from the Village Restaurant on Beach Avenue Road. The drive starts with a dimly lit check post manned by a few DHA officials and what follows is a long stretch of road bathed in complete darkness which is eventually broken by a cluster of glitzy restaurants. The deserted stretch of road serves as a natural cover for criminals who commit the crime and disappear into the maze of dark lanes.

The rising incidents of street crime have sowed considerable unease among those who frequent this strip of eateries and a recent footage of a blood-drenched man shot after resisting a robbery bid has only made matters worse.  The police, as usual, drew flake from the citizens who blamed the force for lacking the will to go after the criminals. “When I informed the police mobile stationed near the Village Restaurant, they did not bother to go after the criminals,” said Mansoor, adding that he was so disgusted with the police reaction that he did not even go to register an FIR.



Unsafe territory

District South SSP Nasir Aftab admitted that criminal gangs from other parts of the city, including Lyari, Mauripur and slums within DHA, were operating in the area. “They consider DHA to be a goldmine,” he said. “The area around Do Darya is uninhabited and absence of street lights makes it easy for criminals to go about their business.”

He, however, said that the police is doing all it could and have killed about 14 criminals and busted 50 gangs in the last six months.

The area falls under the jurisdiction of the Darakshan police station where the total strength of personnel is only 86. “The low police deployment is one of the reasons for increase in the crime rate but we cannot deploy men around the entire Do Darya because we are short on staff,” said Aftab, adding that the area behind Creek Vista is a hotbed of crime and couples who frequent the area are often the victims.

According to the data collected by the Citizens Police Liaison Committee, DHA ranked fifth in the areas where cell phone snatching is on the rise. The CPLC declared it as one of the most volatile areas with 575 reported incidents of mobile mugging in the past one year.

Concerned about the spike in crime, the Association of Defence Residents has submitted a security plan to the DHA authorities to control the situation before it spirals out of control. “We have suggested installing cameras in every street of DHA and a rapid security force that could reach the crime scene without wasting time,” said Asad Kizilbash, a member of the association, adding that the barrier near the Village Restaurant was ineffective.

“The residents are ready to pitch in if the DHA approves the plan but so far the authorities have not given a go-ahead,” he added.

DHA vigilance director Lt Col. Amjad and PRO Rafat Naqvi were unavailable for comment.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 7th, 2013.

COMMENTS (11)

Lyariwala | 8 years ago | Reply

@iLiberal so by your logic all Lyari residents are terrorists? Need I remind you so called "liberals" that Lyari and its residents have a far better claim on Kolachi then any Mian Bhai, Chaudhry, Khan or Malik from any part of the world. What about the rest of the Karachi crime is pretty rampant in Umar Colony and Paposh as well why don't you ask your beloved army to carpet bomb them into oblivion?

Jude Allen | 8 years ago | Reply For all practical reasons the CPLC can setup "neighborhood watch" in DHA. CCTV cameras would prove ineffective on dark roads - DHA should consider investing in solar lighting systems. Corporations can be invited to invest in community policing tools & equipment for better crime-management. With strong involvement of citizens coordination cell being present at Darakshan Police Station, better responsive teams can be produced to tackle the crime menace. Eventually the numbers will decrease. Collaborative efforts between DHA and Cantonment boards to ensure controlled SOP over DHA Commercial Areas - strict monitoring of small businesses and car/bike mechanic shops which employ under age labor - usually these young lads also come equip with some criminal background. Hope this helps!!!
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