Despite a lengthy operation to curb crimes in the metropolitan Karachi, street crimes remain uncontrolled in the city. The increase in crimes, especially street crimes, has exposed the boasts of the government that the metropolis is peaceful. Furthermore, the Chief Minister (CM) of Sindh, Murad Ali Shah suggesting imprisonment of up to seven years for those who take part in street crimes mean that the law and order situation is below par. It is good that the CM is trying to devise a strategy to bring street crimes in the city under control. However, it is hard to imagine if the proposal of sending criminal behind bars for seven years will serve the purpose of deterrence. Once again, the provincial government is trying to find an easy solution for curbing the menace of street crimes. Once again, the strategy will fail in improving the law and order situation of the port city.

It is essential that the CM is considering some major legal reforms to bring normalcy to the city. However, merely focusing on one aspect of the complex problem of street crimes will be a fruitless exercise. While vowing to end street crimes through legal reforms and increasing penalties for criminals, the Sindh government is avoiding to establish its writ in the city through a multi-pronged solution. Like earlier editorials that have been arguing for adopting multi-pronged strategies to curtail terrorism and street crimes, this editorial emphasises the need for a robust policing mechanism as well. It is an observable phenomenon that just harsh penalties will never prevent crimes from occurring. States also strengthen their police force with modern technology to curtail crimes. An efficient police department well equipped with advanced technology and a criminal procedure code without loopholes can create a stable law and order situation in Karachi.

Mr Shah while presiding over the 23rd meeting of the apex committee said that all law enforcement were working in collaboration to ensure the peace of the city. What collaboration and what peace is Mr Shah talking about when people do not feel safe even in the street outside their own homes? Sweet and assuring words, no doubt, are necessary to keep the morale of the populace high. However, it is time to give a thought to what many people have been arguing for some time that strengthening of legal structures and police force simultaneously are imperative for eradicating the menace of street crimes. Merely increasing the sentences does little when the police force is ineffective and the prosecution terrible at conviction. Keeping criminals for more extended period behind bars do not stop crimes from occurring.