Crime rate up in Pindi as more and more labourers settle in

ISLAMABAD: During the last decade, Rawalpindi has been one of the top destinations for the labourers from other parts of the country. Ironically, in the absence of effective checks on migrant labourers from across the country, there has been a rise in crimes in the city.Similarly, every year, more and more people are choosing this city as a place to find cheap lodging facility when out on the hunt for a job. This figure doubled over the last few years. Despite the incredible numbers, there is one factor that continues to hamper the city peace. That factor is crime.“Like everyone else, I’m well aware of the high crime rates in the city. So I want to take proper precautions by finding out where not to step foot, like the Gulrez Police Station area,” says Amjad Ali, a trader, residing there.“So far I’ve learnt that the neighbourhoods behind Chaklala village are the worst when it comes to crimes during the night. And I’ve been warned that areas like Dhoke Kala Khan, Dhoke Munshi and Palm City are highly dangerous during night hours,” adds Amjad.“Is Rawalpindi as unsafe and crime-ridden as people say it is? Yes, it is. My neighbours on both sides here have been burgled in the last two months, as has the family opposite three months ago. A man was wounded a few streets away during a burglary. Burglars are a problem all over the city,” says Najeeb Ullah, a resident of Car Chowk.“In my limited experience, I’d say that certain areas of the city are absolutely no-go areas, whereas most of them are very safe. I try to avoid going downtown and its direct surroundings during the night,” adds Najeeb.“Although the city suburbs are dangerous, I wouldn’t classify them as no-go areas. Some areas tend to be a little more up-market and comparatively safer, though it is not a rule. Some in all directions receive a raw kind of justice. That’s where many crimes are committed,” comments Sajjad Ahmad, a police sub-inspector.“The number of incidents of murders, assaults, robberies, muggings, purse/mobile snatching, car lifting and house break-ins is a bit exaggerated when it comes to people worrying about it. True, the theft rate is pretty high, and the newspapers never pass up the opportunity to report on any gruesome incident, but the fact is that most crimes in the city take place between people who know each other i.e. mostly victims and perpetrators are related to each other,” said a police officer.“This city is a very much safe, but there is a need to take precautions. I live here and don’t often sense the fear that is sometimes perceived by some. I think the inner city is very safe during the day, and slightly less so at night. I wouldn’t fear walking in the city at night, but I certainly keep my wits about me,” says Nazakat Hussain, a resident of Dhoke Khabba.“I have cousins and aunts living in Dhok Choudrian – famous for housing poor taxi/rickshaw drivers – and none of them have been burgled or experienced any crime whatsoever. Whenever I go to the marketplace, I walk up and down along the lanes at night and am always amazed by the fact that everyone is friendly. I never felt threatened there,” adds Nazakat.“I agree with Nazakat. The crime rate has generally downward trend. The issue of crime in the city is a complex one. The depressing news you hear about crime here is only part of the picture,” remarks Akram Awan.“The high crime rate is predominantly concentrated in areas where there has been a rise in drug-related crime due to the presence of crime bosses and gangs in the absence of adequate law enforcement, like Fauji Colony and Pir Wadhai. Such areas, according to the police, are key contributors to the crime rate in the city.

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