LAHORE Gangs of dacoits, robbers, and muggers are brazenly committing house robberies, street crimes and lifting vehicles at gunpoint in the Punjabs capital with impunity. Reportedly, the gangsters have made over 200 successfully strikes in the City during the last one week. They made off with cash, gold ornaments and other valuables worth millions of rupees. The mere number of these criminal strikes tells us as if our police are busy somewhere else maybe making yet another crime-combat planning to deal with the situation. Armed bandits also stormed into 51 houses located in different parts of the City, held up families and fled after collecting cash, gold ornaments, cellular phones and other valuables. Police in this case, too, looked in vain Not enough, at least 24 cars and 35 motorcycles were either snatched at gunpoint or stolen during the same period from the provincial capital. Desperate gangsters also killed a rickshaw-driver on offering resistance during armed robbery attempt and shot at wounded three other people during the last seven days. When Capital City Police Officer Ahmed Raza Tahir took the charge some 45 days ago, he claimed that the criminals would be crushed within 60 days. Everyone remembers his maiden address wherein he had said that There would be sharp decline in the crime in the City. But the situation on the ground is altogether different. One wonders that thousands of policemen are deployed across the City on daily basis, hundreds of police vehicles are patrolling on the roads and dozens of pickets are set up as well but still the gangsters are brazenly committing armed robberies. Simply, it is because the policemen prefer minting money where ever they are deployed by using one or another tactic. At police stations, pickets and other duty-points policemen operate typically; they harass innocent people, intercept innocent motorcyclists and collect money in the name of documents checking, they also stop motorists and mint money in the name of snap checking rather than hunting gangsters involved in armed robberies by using modern techniques. Last week, CCPO Ahmed Raza Tahir directed the policemen to focus on hardened criminals rather than raiding brothels, hotels and guesthouses. He has rightly realized that the City police are involved in extorting money by blackmailing lovebirds, caught in objectionable conditions either inside brothels, or guesthouses. Experts believe that deterrence of heinous crimes should be given top priority rather than social crimes because 'protection of life and property of the citizens is the prime responsibility of the police. But to change the police mind-set is not an easy job and only time will decide how the new CCPO will bring this much-needed change in the society, where corruption and crimes are flourishing side by side. A couple of weeks ago, the City Police Chief directed the police to cut down pickets to provide relief to the Lahorites and announced that all the pickets would be removed gradually. But, not even a single picket has been removed so far and the cops are witnessed harassing passersby and motorists in every nook and corner of the City. More interestingly, the numbers of police pickets are increased instead of putting an end to this practice. On June 6, a delegation of bankers had met the CCPO and demanded an immediate end to the rising number of bank dacoities. In response, the CCPO suggested them not to rely on them (police) totally. It is important to mention here that the local police have badly failed in tracing out the gangsters who looted six branches of different banks during last couple of months, making millions of rupees in booty. Ironically, despite being given proof in the shape of video clips, the cops are clueless about the gangs involved in the crime.