Karachi Street Crime: Citizens Fighting Back?

Karachi Street Crime

Daily Jang reports that two motorcycle riding thugs tried to snatch cell phone from a guy in car with his family. The person opened fire at them and fled from the scene with his family. One of the prospective snatcher is dead while other is injured. Police registered the case and is searching for the guy who apparently shot in self defense.

The news item was reported in yesterday’s news updates. I haven’t found anything about it in today’s online papers. Also it hasn’t been reported in the blogosphere yet. I find this news disturbing as it clearly indicates citizens are trying to fight back crime by themselves, and that by using force. Karachites are so depressed and frustrated by increasing crime rate and lack of action from the law enforcement agencies, that they are taking it up to their hands, whenever possible. If the trend continues it will lead to more anarchy and chaos.

South Africans have a history of organized crime somewhat similar to Pakistan. Frustrated with crime and seeking alternative ways to protect themselves from criminals, they started to fight crime with crime:

Over the past few years, parts of South Africa have witnessed the emergence of a strong community reaction against crime. Just two years after the 1994 election, criminals were holding communities to ransom and the government was seen to be failing to protect its citizens. The community’s reaction to the state’s percieved failure was demonstrated in the Northern Province and the Western Cape where there has been strong support for a harsh and swift response to criminals as advocated by Mapogo-a-Mathamaga and Pagad (People against gangsterism and drugs) respectively. Their actions, although supported by many, have been described as vigilantism characterised by:

* Acts of severe violence including the serious assault and murder of alleged criminals.

* Punishment that often exceeds the crime allegedly committed.

* Engaging in illegal acts such as kidnappings, crimen injuria, malicious damage to property, theft, robbery and sabotage.

* Alleged perpetrators being accosted by highly charged mobs.

* The lack of a clear structure, rules and limitations in the way the vigilante organisation operates.

* The absence of communication lines between the groups and state organs such as the police.

In one form or another, vigilante groups exist throughout South Africa. Supporters of vigilantism argue that the high level of crime and the government’s perceived failure to curb crime, necessitates strong action from communities. Some of the known vigilante groups are the Umfelandawonye in the Eastern Cape, Mapogo-a-Mathamaga in the Northern Province, and Pagad, PEACA and taxi associations in the Western Cape.

This happens when people loose their faith on the Government to curb crime and provide security to citizens.

In a recent poll readers held Government and its agencies responsible for the high crime rate in Karachi.
… and this leads to an interesting question, ‘what are criminals are made of?

7 thoughts on “Karachi Street Crime: Citizens Fighting Back?”

  1. Now a days the street crime level in karachi is not rising by
    quantity but also by the courage the snatchers carry
    in their heart and that courage was seen by me on the
    morning of friday at about 7.15 am,I was standing outside
    of my house and a man came on a motorbike and asked me
    to give my cellphone,I told him that I didn’t had a mobile .
    The amazing thing was that he was a tough and healthy man
    and I was thinking that what intense need that he had for which
    he was doing this,but unfortunately at that moment my father came
    and he loaded his gun and pointed at him and asked for his
    mobile,it was a horrifiying sight to see a man being robbed
    in front of his own house!
    I request the police department of karachi to work more hard
    to find these needy people and try to make the street a less
    terrifying place to wander alone!

  2. This is a very good and interesting post. I believe criminals need to be taught a lesson. Until when are people going to put up with it? However, I do agree that a criminal should not be killed.

  3. Street crimes is the name of hidden horror because nobody can imagine about this. Snatching left psychological impect on the people.


  4. street crime in karachi is increasing day by day people are feeling himself unsafe. so i am also researching on this mater, that “how is its impect on genral people economicaly, psychologly, and socialy”. so please if possible send me some data on my email address. thanks

  5. Street crime in Karachi
    underword black cat and black cobra war

    STREET crime in Karachi has reached an unprecedented and frightening level. For that reason, the sense of insecurity among its 10 million plus citizens has never been more acute. Even a cursory look at the happenings of the last few days in the nation’s biggest city and commercial and industrial hub is enough to send shivers down the spine. On Thursday, robbers shot dead two persons, one of them a lady doctor, who attempted to resist criminals trying to rob her in Gulistan-i-Jauhar, an area that till midnight bustles with shoppers. The other one was murdered in Landhi by bandits who were after his cash as he came out of a bank. A day earlier, four women legislators of the Sindh Assembly were robbed in the Tin Hatti area, and the same day a journalist went missing. On Monday, a policeman and an alleged informer were shot dead in Malir, while the same day bandits killed two men in the Site area when they resisted the snatching of their cell phones. The real dimensions of the crime scene are apparent from two reports in Dawn. One said that criminals deprived people of 750 vehicles and 4,000 cell phones in 20 days (Sept 1-20), while the other report says there were seven robberies every hour in July and August.

    Are the high-ups, moving around in bullet-proof cars and protected by armed escorts in a dozen security vans, aware of this nightmarish crime situation? Of course, they will point out that urban crime is a worldwide phenomenon. It may even be claimed that the situation in some cities — Rio de Janeiro is often mentioned — is worse than that in Karachi. But there are certain factors peculiar to the Pakistani situation. Somehow there is an impression among the people that all the security agencies, armed with the latest techniques of crime detection and the most modern gadgetry, are there — not for the protection of the people but for fighting the war on terror and against perceived anti-state elements. Every now and then, TV shots show huge caches of arms seized in Balochistan or the tribal areas, but will there ever be the satisfaction of seeing such scenes about Karachi, given the fact that arms are as freely available here as in the tribal belt and Dera Bugti? Why can’t the free flow of arms to Karachi and the sale of guns in the city be stopped? Buying a gun here is like buying a packet of cigarettes.

    The security agencies ought to know all about how the powerful mafia runs the lucrative gun trade. In fact, certain localities — Sohrab Goth, for one — are known to be a haven for the gun mafia and it seems to enjoy an inexplicable immunity. This has given rise to apprehensions in some quarters that sections of the law enforcement agencies are hand in glove with criminal elements and that a successful war on crime will not be possible without an overhaul of the existing police set-up. We also hear a lot about the official claim that poverty is going down. Yet, regrettably, going by the rising rate of crime in Karachi, the claim seems hardly convincing. All this notwithstanding, the rulers should know that the first responsibility of any government is the protection of the life, liberty and property of its citizens. From this point of view, this government has hardly any achievement to claim.

  6. i think this has been happening for a while now. while it may be the last ingredient necessary to spark anarchy, it is something that is sad but inevitable. having being mugged numerous times myself, the thought of retaliating has crossed my mind more than once.

    however, murder, assualt and harrasment cannot be condoned, regardless of whether it is inflicted on the victim or the perpertrator. the only logical thing to do at this point is hold the government accountable…but wait, how do we do that?


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