The past four-and-a-half-year data reveal that the crime surged in the country. In 2008, 592,503 offences were registered whereas the number crossed 673,750 in 2011.

The statistics indicate that during four years, 136,470 vehicles (worth Rs 68.20 billion) were lifted / snatched from different parts of the country. A total of 37,142 felonies, including murder, kidnapping for ransom, gang rape and armed dacoity were registered in 2008 and 62,961 in 2011 with 69.51 per cent increase.

Plagued by target killings, the port city of Karachi has been declared unsafe city – third most dangerous cities of the world. The situation is not different in Quetta and Peshawar where terrorist attacks also took place.

According to the Pakistan 2012 OSAC Crime and Safety Report, Lahore, crime against persons has increased in 2011. Police recorded 1,861 incidents of attempt to murder in 2011 - 14.66pc increase in a year. Murders increased by 10.33pc recording 598 cases in 2011 against 542 cases in 2010. Theft incidents were raised by 12.36pc.

Similarly, an upward trend was witnessed in sexual assault on women by 21.96pc. Dacoities were increased by 18.34pc, gang robberies by 33pc and motorcycle lifting by 24.76pc.

The key factors of this increase in crimes are cited as population explosion, poverty, inflation and unemployment. Independent sources claim that about 23pc of our population (40m) is living below the poverty line. This abject way of living particularly in rural areas forces the workforce to migrate to urban areas for jobs.

People shifted in urban areas are usually absorbed as labourers and some work as domestic servants or housemaids. The investigating agencies believe that this influx also contributes to enhancing street crime in Lahore.

The external investment since 2008 has dropped sharply. Some of the industrialists have shifted their investments abroad. A sizeable strength of educated youth is in hunt for jobs. Being dejected from unemployment and poverty, this folk has become  vulnerable to crimes.

 After 9/11, incidents of terrorism and street crime in the metropolis surged manifold. Rising wave of street crime in Lahore is a matter of great concern for the Punjab government. The local police, on the other hand, have failed to curb crimes. The reasons are simple and obvious... criminals are more professional than lawmen and outlaws are well-trained and equipped with latest weapons while police lack trained human resource and modern weapons. The Lahore police always complain about shortage of force - a genuine demand. It is reported that out of 26,000 men of the Lahore police, 16,000 trained young officials including elite commandos are on security of VIPs, protocol, emergency and other miscellaneous duties.

The routine thana police, consisting of only 10,000 officials mostly engaged in law and order and other multifarious duties, are incapable of fighting against street criminals in the city of 10 m people.  According to international standards, one cop is required to protect the life and property of 250 citizens. Even on 1: 500 basis, Lahore needs the services of 20,000 cops for the purspose. The Lahore police have also presented a Rs1b Street Crime Prevention Plan to the Punjab govt that includes appointment of 2,000 constables, purchase of 114 pick-ups, 330 motorcycles, 100 laptops, 111 CCTVS cameras and Portable Direction Finders (PDF). It has been revealed that the government has initially approved Rs450 million for the plan. Moreover, model police stations are also being established for  better facilities to the people visiting police stations to get their grievances redressed.

To check street crime in Lahore, some suggestions are; for effective handling of crime, a special street crime fighting cell may be set up. An exclusive special force may be established under this cell. Based on volume of crime, Lahore may be divided into 100 sectors. Some 20,000 constables may be recruited from fresh educated youth. They may be imparted elite and latest crime fighting training. Two hundred fresh recruits and trained young policemen may be deployed in each sector. Every squad may be given reliable vehicles and latest fighting equipment for proper patrol and monitoring .This special force may be supervised by independent officers other than readers and should not perform routine duties. To run the crime control cell, a think-tank comprising experienced persons  be engaged for drawing up a roadmap to curb crime.  A strategy of implementation also be devised. An independent monitoring and evaluation unit should also work under this cell. Crime reports may be formalised and analysed regularly. A database of pending cases  may be developed. The prosecution may feed the cell with follow-up. Regular monitoring will enhance the disposal of these cases.

Moreover, public support is a must for winning war on crimes. Previously, local government institutions through three-tier formations - Zila Council, Tehsil Council and Union Council – had the potential of achieving maximum public participation at grassroots level.  In the absence of such institutions, now, for social mobilisation, civil society has to be taken on board to assist police in the crusade against criminals.  There is a dire need of stepping up effort for deweaponisation in the metropolis and the issuance of arms licence should be liberalised and simplified for general public for self-defence.