Street crimes and the role of the state

Street crimes and the role of the state

Noam Chomsky once said, “For the powerful, crimes are those that others commit.” Is street crime more harmful than white collar crime? As a general answer, a crime is a wrongdoing, proclaimed by law against society. Hence, all acts of disobeying the law are considered crimes. Be it an assault or embezzlement, one has committed an offence. Yet we have learned values and morals from our surroundings which gave us concepts of the degree of harm pertaining to a particular crime.

From being submerged in a specific culture, our concept of crime is usually that of a physical one. We, as a society, generally conjure images of a personal assault on oneself when defining the concept of crime. Very rarely would one’s first connotation of crime be that of certain members of big corporates swindling away finances.

In a neighbourhood’s loss of economic development, criminal deviants become role models for younger members of the society due to their appearance as a figure of wealth and power. This individual fear can lead to indirect victimisation. Furthermore, it has caused legal, economical, educational and moral decline of many neighbourhoods.

The year 2016 has seen no respite in street crimes in Karachi, once called the city of lights. Even with the change in government, the grievances faced by the people have not lessened. In fact, they have worsened in certain aspects. Armed robbery, assault and mugging are an almost daily headache for the locals.

As a result, victims are deprived of their hard earned money and valuables. Despite the rise in street crimes, citizens avoid registering their complaints with the police. This is mainly due to the abysmal attitude of law enforcers. Moreover, they are also less likely to report a crime to police in order to avoid lengthy and undue involvement.

Despite all the prevention schemes placed by the government, street crimes are fast becoming a major concern for citizens of Karachi and other urban centres. The solution lies not only in stern action against these criminals but also in educating the youth and providing them with adequate job opportunities. According to statistics obtained from the Citizens Police Liaison Committee (CPLC), the rate of street crime remained almost consistent in the first five months of the year. In addition, the city witnessed 424 car snatching incidents in June, 357 in July, 420 in August, 348 in September and 398 vehicles in October. The number of motorcycles snatched or stolen were 1,951 in June; 1,801 in July, 1,521 in August; 1,574 in September and 1,805 in the month of October.

With the passage of time, Punjab is also being threatened by soaring rates of street crime. The Ministry of Interior informed the national Assembly that the highest rate of street crimes has been reported in Punjab when compared to other areas. With the increase in street crimes, sense of insecurity has also risen. The ratio of mentally depressed patients admitted to hospitals testifies this claim.

In order to bring an end to this evil, we must educate the society because only education can lead to a strong and prosperous nation. Furthermore, we must also build a strong familial fabric with parents leading the way. Efforts should also be made to strengthen the police structure so that apprehended criminals are tried justly and punished duly. Efficiency of police force must be an utmost priority for the state to secure the lives of the commoners that feel let down by the state of affairs.

The writer is an undergraduate student of media studies at Kinnaird College Lahore. She can be reached at