LAHORE Top police officers serving in the Punjab Capital believe that the security and law and order duties were behind the recent surge in incidents of street crimes. According to them, the crime rate shot up in the City as thousands of policemen were on guard to provide security cover to the annual Raiwind congregation and then to Majalis and processions held across the provincial metropolis in this holy month of Muharram. Reportedly, dacoits and robbers, during the last 20 days, struck no less than 500 times in different parts of the City, killed at least three people on offering resistance and fled away after looting cash, gold ornaments and other valuables worth million of rupees. Believe it or not, at least 150 cars and motorcycles were either stolen or snatched from different parts of the City during this period as the policemen were busy in security duties to maintain law and order. Last week, during a brief chat over sudden surge in the incidents of street and social crimes, Capital City Police Officer Ahmed Raza Tahir informed that the street crimes always shoot up in other parts of the City when massive police are deployed in certain areas. Thieves and robbers always play hide and seek with the police, he added. He also informed that an effective strategy has been put in place not only to counter crimes of serious nature but also to root out the social crimes from the society. He said that a massive crackdown is underway against fake witnesses, guarantors and touts in provincial metropolis. The CCPO said that fake witnesses, guarantors and touts are a big hurdle in the way of justice, as dangerous criminals are released on bail through them and consequently pose dire threat to the life and property of the people by indulging in heinous crimes. Therefore, there is dire need to take strict legal action against them. He said that all the divisionally SPs have been directed to personally ensure forceful action against fake witnesses, guarantors and touts in accordance with the law, as those anti-social elements who try to play with the law deserve no sympathy. He also informed that more than 400 fake witnesses and touts, who are working in different areas, have been identified and a massive crackdown has been ordered against them. Similarly, he said that the police have been directed to identify spots and launch crackdown against brothels and gambling dens. He also admitted that policemen in some cases patronize the gangs running brothels and gambling dens but they would not be spared. He said that the policemen would have to improve their performance otherwise they would have to face the music. He said that the concerned SHO would be held responsible if they found gambling dens, drug business and brothels operating in his jurisdiction. The CCPO further claimed that there was no space for corrupt officials in the police department. He also said that Reporting Centers are being established in the office of each SP of the operation wing in order to facilitate the complainant in the City. It is worth mentioning here that a police team on Thursday night raided a guesthouse and arrested 37 men and women including a police officer in objectionable condition. The policeman, Sub Inspector Taimour Malik, escaped from the police custody shortly after the raid but the police have registered two separate cases against him. However, police sources during background discussion revealed that the gangs could not run brothels, gambling dens and drugs business without police assistance. They said that hundreds of touts are working as the front men of different police officers and officials. They were of the view that whenever the police high-ups launch crackdown, they go underground for the time being but they resurface shortly. However, time will deicide how effectively this crackdown, initiated on the orders of the CCPO, will work to eliminate police touts and elements involved in social crimes.