LAHORE  - The Punjab police have declared 29,617 crimes of various nature, including 403 murder cases, reported in 2014 as untraceable, suggesting that further investigations of these cases have been shelved.

As per the police record, out of total 389,554 cases reported last year as many as 1,387 cases against person and 28,226 cases against property could not be traced.

These statistics show that with the passage of time the number of cases in which the police have failed to make any breakthrough is going up. And this leaves a negative impression about the police performance despite the increase in financial resources to them with every passing year.

Just for the information of the readers, the police had declared more than 23,000 crimes as untraceable in 2013, and no less than at least 19,821 cases of heinous crimes including killings, abductions for ransom, robberies, auto-lifting, and cattle-theft were declared as undetectable in 2012.

If the government still has the temerity to claim that the performance of the police is enviable, they are free to do so.  Those in power can make any claim – right or wrong –  and the ‘subjects’ can do nothing to challenge them.

Had the increase in financial allocations and manpower or provision of modern gadgets been the yardstick, the number of unsolved cases should have come down.

Crime experts blame massive corruption in police department, untrained investigators, and faulty investigations as major reasons behind the police failure in solving the crimes mysteries.

Official statistics reveal that more than 384 cases of dacoities, 6,127 of robberies, 4,525 of burglaries 397 of theft (under section 382/PPC), 9,977 of motor-vehicle theft, 1,638 of motor vehicle snatching (at gunpoint), 4,49 of cattle-theft, and 4,729 of other nature had been declared untraceable in 2014 (from January to December).

The police have also admitted that no less than 403 cases of murder, 452 of attempted murder, 60 of hurt, 239 of kidnappings, one of kidnappings for ransom, 16 of rape, two cases of gang-rape, and 214 cases other nature could not be detected by the police investigators last year.

Police sources reveal that auto-lifting has become a “flourishing industry” for gangsters in the provincial capital, because on average about 20 citizens are deprived of their vehicles on daily basis. Apparently, it seems that Lahore police have completely given up when it comes to street crime and armed robberies.

According to officials, more than 20,310 vehicles were taken away from the province in 2014. Ironically, the police have declared some 9,977 cases of auto-lifting as untraceable. This means that these vehicles would never be recovered because the investigations into these cases have been shelved once and for all. Similarly, gunmen snatched away at least 6,352 vehicles from different parts of the province last year. The police investigators have declared no less than 1,638 cases of vehicle-snatching as undetectable.

Also, the provincial police reported as many as 19,610 robberies in 2014 out of which 6,127 have been declared as untraceable. As for dacoities, the police reported 2,302 dacoities last year and said that they failed to detect 384 of them.

Some police officers say they believe poverty, unemployment, frustration, and greed for wealth are the main reasons behind the recent surge in incidents of street crimes and armed robberies.

Interestingly, the conviction rate saw an improvement in 2014 as compared to the previous year. In 2014, as least 67,223 accused persons were convicted while in 2013 some 59,000 accused had been convicted.

A senior police officer admitted that the investigators failed to solve a great number of crimes including murder cases last year. He said that a “homicide cell” is being created in the Punjab police to hunt down the criminals involved in killings particularly blind murders. He claimed that the cell comprising experienced investigators would be activated during the current year.

The homicide cell would help improve the performance of the Punjab police in terms of solving murder cases across the province. The specialised homicide investigation units would make an integral part of the respective district investigation branches in all districts of the province. These units would investigate all murder cases to be registered in the future under sections 302, 316, 319, 320 and 322 of the Pakistan Penal Code.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, in 2013, had admitted before the media persons that non-arrest of criminals involved in molestation of a five-year-old girl of Mughalpura put a big question mark on the performance of the investigation wing of the police.

Police investigators are still unable to hunt down the rapists after the minor girl was found abandoned near Sir Ganga Ram Hospital almost two years ago.

Actually, the performance of the investigation wing has been on the decline with every passing day and this is evident from the fact that the police failed to solve almost all high-profile cases reported in the provincial metropolis in 2013.