LAHORE - The overall crime rate swelled to an alarming level across the Punjab province during the first month of this year as compared to previous.

The latest police data shows significant rise in the incidents of murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, rape and gang-rape as the province recorded high crime rate in the month of January 2018 if compared to the corresponding period of 2017. The incidents of motorcar-vehicle theft, cattle theft, and robberies also multiplied during January 2018 as compared to January 2017.

The provincial police reported an alarming trend in the overall crime rate. As per police data, at least 32,994 crime cases were reported by police across the province against the last year’s 31,865 such cases. The incidents of “crime against property” swelled to a reasonable extent with a total of 3,655 cases reported across the province in January this year while at least 3,225 such cases had been reported by police during the same period in 2017.  In all Punjab districts, gangsters robbed residences, shops, factories, looted families, motorists and even passersby and made off with cars, cash, gold ornaments, and other valuables worth billions of rupees.

Murder: The incidents of murder registered an increase in January 2018 as compared to the previous year. At least 275 people were murdered across the province in January. However, the police had reported at least 252 murder cases during the corresponding period in 2017. Last year, the provincial police had declared at least 177 murder cases as untraceable.

Attempted Murder: The police also registered 343 attempted murder cases against 300 such incidents registered with the Punjab police in 2017. Last year, police investigators were unable to solve many blind murder cases. In these blind murder cases, several victims were women and children who were found brutally murdered in different parts of the province.

Hurt: The police during the first month of this year reported at least 917 “Hurt” cases in the category of crime against person. However, the provincial police had reported 882 such cases during January 2017.

Kidnapping: The provincial police registered at least 1,208 abduction cases during January 2018 as compared to 992 kidnapping incidents reported during the first month of 2017. Most of the victims were said to be women and young girls who were abducted by gunmen.

Rape/Gang-rape: At least 222 rape cases were registered with the provincial police in January while during the matching period in 2017 the police had reported 192 rape cases. Similarly, at least 16 cases of gang rape were reported by police in the first month of this year against 11 such cases reported last year.

The police also reported at least 690 cases under the head of “Others” in the category of crime against person.

Dacoities: The police, during the month of January, reported at least 65 cases of dacoities (involving five or more than five gunmen) against 68 such cases registered with the provincial police in January 2017. Last year, the police failed to trace at least 46 cases of dacoities.

Robberies: The new police data shows that at least 964 armed robberies were reported during the first month of this year against 1,004 such cases reported during the corresponding period in 2017. Similarly, at least 1,004 cases of burglary were reported by the police in January 2018 against 1057 such cases registered with the police during the same period in 2017.

Theft: During the month of January, the provincial police registered 93 theft cases against 105 theft cases reported during the corresponding period in 2017. The police data revealed a considerable increase in cattle-theft cases this year as compared to the previous year. According to police, at least 452 cattle theft cases were registered with the police in January 2018, while the police had reported 440 such cases during the same period in 2017.

Motor Vehicle Snatching: In January, the provincial police reported at least 261 cases of motor vehicle snatching, while during the same period in 2017 the police had reported 278 such cases. As far as the motor-vehicle theft is concerned, the police reported 1,251 cases against 1239 such incidents reported during the same period in 2017. In the Punjab province, auto-lifting has become a booming business. More than 20,000 citizens are deprived of their vehicles every year. Less than 10 per cent of the total snatched or stolen vehicles are recovered by police annually, and thousands of auto-lifting cases are declared by police as “untraceable”.

Shootouts: The provincial police killed at least 18 alleged criminals in ‘armed encounters’ which took place in different parts of the province during the first month of this year as compared to 26 criminals killed in shootouts with police during the corresponding period in 2017.Also, at least three policemen lost their lives and three others were wounded while fighting criminals during the first month of 2018.

Meanwhile, the cases reported by police under the head of “local and special laws violations” also registered a slight decrease in January 2018 as compared to the matching period of 2017. The Punjab Police reported 11,626 cases in the category of local and special law violations while in 2017 at least 12,773 such cases had been registered with the police under this head. The police also reported at least 11,030 cases of crime under the head of Miscellaneous Laws against 9,318 cases reported in this category in January 2017.

The conviction and acquittal rate however improved comparatively. At least 9,292 persons were convicted during the month of January 2018 while at least 7,903 persons were convicted in various cases during the same period in 2017. Also, at least 7,119 persons were acquitted in January 2018 while at least 6,917 persons had been acquitted in different cases during the same period in 2017.