LAHORE - Abduction or kidnapping has seen the maximum rise among all the total cognizable crimes in the Punjab province recorded under the Pakistan Penal Code since January 2014. In the category of crimes against property, armed robbery is the biggest crime trend in the province followed by auto-lifting. Crime experts say massive rise in the street crimes depicts the horrible picture of the poverty-stricken society. Police reported 1319 cases of murder, 1565 of attempted murder, 3264 of hurt, 3351 cases of kidnapping, 29 cases of abduction for ransom, 570 cases of rape, and 46 cases of gang-rape during the first three months of this year. Under the ‘rape and gang-rape’ head, there is an increase in such cases. The majority of these cases had minor girls as victims, particularly those from rural areas and the offenders were relatives or neighbours. While the police maintain that this increase is because of increased awareness among women experts said the situation is alarming and that police need to acknowledge its gravity. Even the total number of cases of crime also witnessed a steep rise with registration of 95435 cases during the first quarter of this year as compared to 87484 in 2013. Punjab’s crime graph shows an upsurge trend with an increase of 7951 cases of crime registered during the first quarter of this year. Police officials believed that the youngsters hailing from poor and lower middle-class families are found involved in pick-pocketing, auto-lifting, and mobile or purse snatching. Records also revealed that most of them had jumped into the field of crime anticipating that they would never be caught. Many of them wanted to have a flashy lifestyle but did not have the money. The incidents of snatching mobiles, purse, and chains from women are on the rise in the posh areas of Lahore. There are many factors that lead to increasing crime rate including high rate of unemployment, rising poverty, increasing inflation and urbanization. Some other non-economic factors such as exposure to excessive violence on media and weakening of traditional agents of socialization namely family, society, and religion are also responsible for the lawlessness in the society. The impact of rising crime is not confined to the illiterate and poor class of society; even some wealthy, well-placed, and educated people are also involved in committing crimes. They are in the race of accumulating wealth through illegal means. Furthermore, these people have sources to exploit loopholes in the legal system to get away with their wrongdoings in our society. Majority of the people who have meager resources at their disposal to meet their both ends are also involved in crimes. Crime swells swiftly in big cities rather than small towns, suggesting the impact of urbanization. Both the incidents of crime against person and crime against property are on the rise in the province particularly in Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan, Rawalpindi, and Gujranwala. Although police attribute the upsurge to ‘free of cost’ registration of crimes yet it is also true that the law enforcing agency is unable to track down the gangs of criminals as such incidents have also multiplied in the recent years. Security experts say the poor legal and judicial system and corrupt law enforcement agencies further aggravate the law and order situation in the society. The governments in the past also failed to take measures to control crimes. Unfortunately, corruption, poor implementation of policies and rising terrorism further aggravated the situation.This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 11-May-2014 here.