LAHORE  - The crime graph has swelled significantly in the Punjab province during the first quarter of 2014 as compared to the last year, since the incidents of murder, abduction, rape, auto-lifting, and armed robberies are on the rise.

Even the total number of cases of crime also witnessed a steep rise with registration of 95435 cases during the first quarter of this year as compared to 87484 in 2013.

Punjab’s crime graph shows an upsurge trend with an increase of 7951 cases of crime registered during the first quarter of this year.

The official record of all reported crimes reveals that the incidents of dacoity, kidnapping, and robberies including auto-lifting and snatching have swelled to an alarming level all over the province. Growing incidents of crime against property have raised alarm bells not only for the police, but also for society to wake up and take the menace head-on before the situation goes out of hands.

The provincial police reported 11856 cases of crimes against person during the first quarter of this year (January to March) against 11757 cases registered in 2013 during the same period. Similarly, police registered 25698 cases of crimes against property in firsdt three months of 2014 against 24029 cases reported in 2013.

As per police record, 658 cases of dacoity, 5348 cases of armed robberies, 4934 cases of auto-lifting and 1714 cases of auto-snatching were registered in Punjab from January to March 2014.

In the category of crime against person, police reported 1319 cases of murder, 3351 cases of kidnapping, 29 cases of abduction for ransom, 570 cases of rape, and 46 cases of gang-rape during the first three months of this year. Under the ‘rape and gang-rape’ head, there is an increase in cases, as per the data.

The majority of these cases had minor girls as victims, particularly those from rural areas and the offenders were relatives or neighbours. Still, cooperation from the public is needed to tackle such crimes as police alone cannot fight it out, a senior officer commented.

Both the incidents of crime against person and crime against property are on the rise in the province particularly in Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan, Rawalpindi, and Gujranwala.

Although police attribute the upsurge to ‘free of cost’ registration of crimes yet it is also true that the law enforcing agency is unable to track down the gangs of criminals as such incidents have also multiplied in the recent years.

When asked about the reason behind growing rate of crime, some police officers said that crimes are on the rise due to multiple reasons including corruption, massive unemployment, and drugs in addition to frustration among the unemployed youth.

Apart from deployment of cops in the field, CCTV cameras should also be installed at vulnerable spots to monitor criminals involved in street crimes. Admitting a steep surge in the incidents armed robberies in Punjab, an officer of the Lahore police said that they have already deployed well-trained squads and officials of the Quick Response Force (QRF) at important points like shopping malls, parks, and bust stops to control the crime.

During a brief chat, the officer also informed that hundreds of officials of the QRF are specially deployed in the crime-prone areas in Lahore and they are instructed to immediately respond to the incident and chase the criminals. He said that specially-trained cops are deployed round-the-clock at the police control room (Rescue-15) in Lahore to tackle the complaints regarding the street crimes and other incidents. Lahore police also plan to constitute anti-kidnapping units to curb the menace, he said.