Karachi’s crime malaise

Published: August 18, 2011
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Youngsters from highly affluent families have also been found involved in criminal activities

Karachi, with a population of nearly 20 million, has its fair share of problems like all other major metropolitans. Its weary residents have had to put up with a multitude of problems, including  a huge slum population, frequent power cuts and poor infrastructure.

However, few cities have as bad a reputation for crime, particularly street crime, as Karachi. Be it mobile snatching, car theft, robberies at ATMs or traffic signals, there will be few Karachiites who do not have some sort of a story to tell of their or their acquaintances’ encounters with street crime.

Many will be quick to attribute this meteoric rise in the crime rate of the city to poverty, unemployment and lack of opportunities and, no doubt, these are important contributing factors to this malaise. However, the poor economic situation alone cannot be held responsible for the dismal state of affairs.

Youngsters from highly affluent families have also been found involved in criminal activities, which points to serious parental neglect and a breakdown of social and moral values. Our society has turned into a highly materialistic one with a thirst for high living and a desire to make a quick buck at all cost, whether the means are right or wrong. Not to be discounted is the role of some political parties of the city that seem to have allowed their workers the liberty to engage in these activities as a part-time hobby.

Added to this is the police force in Karachi, which is worthy of pity. A highly underpaid, grossly under-staffed but extremely overworked police isn’t the ideal way of going about fighting crime. Theirs is a thankless job guarding VVIPs and dealing with target killings and gang warfare, leaving only limited numbers of them to investigate street crimes i.e. if some of them are not already complicit in them.

As things stand today, street crime and the occasional deaths it may result in, are not going away anywhere. The citizenry of this metropolitan have accepted it as a fait accompli and, therefore, must pay the price for it.

Amna Lone

Amna Lone

A sub-editor for The Express Tribune’s editorial pages.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.