A newly established street watch force comprising 1,870 police personnel was deployed in Karachi on Saturday with the initiative to curtail the rise of street crime. Additional Inspector General of Police Dr. Amir Shaikh addressed the force personnel at Garden police headquarters in front of SSPs of all districts, stating that the force will be deployed at risk areas where street crimes are prevalent.

From the looks of the details, it appears that the arrangements for the new street watch force are ready and able. According to Dr. Shaikh, eighty motorcycles have been given to the force personnel for District South, City, East and Central each and 20 to personnel for West, Malir and Korangi each.

This decision, to enable a more efficient police wing to work upon street crime, is commendable. Anyone living in Sindh can perhaps attest to the nuisance and danger of street crimes which had arisen to alarming levels in the last decade, to the point of making Karachi a city where nearly every resident had been a victim of a phone-snatching or road theft incident. This act was perhaps especially more important after the Rangers operation, where the paramilitary force was deployed with special powers to maintain peace in Karachi. While the Rangers can be credited for stablising Karachi’s crime rates, shifting the duty from the paramilitary force to the police, as it should be, is a move towards democracy, and will hopefully build better trust in the police.

As the Street Watch now resumes duties, one of the most important problems it should consider is that despite high crime rates, the prosecution level in the Sindh courts is low. By ensuring better investigation and evidence collecting skills, as well as regulation and safety, the police can work towards making Sindh a safer place.