LAHORE     -   The overall crime rate has swelled to an alarming level in the Punjab province during the first nine months of this year as compared to the previous.

The latest police data shows that the incidents of armed robberies, auto-lifting, and cattle-theft are increasing rapidly in the Punjab province where police are struggling to solve horrific child murders.

The property crime appears to be the most worrisome thing for the country’s law largest enforcement agency as official data reveals record increase in the reported cases in recent months. Police investigators claim they smashed many gangs of criminals by arresting hundreds of suspects but property crimes are still at record high for the last several months.

According to the statistics, the provincial police reported a record number of cases during the first nine months of this year as compared to the previous. The recent surge in crime is being attributed to the sharp increase in incidents of crime against property. The police data shows significant increase in incidents of “crime against property” from January to July this year as compared to 2018.  The provincial police registered a total of 281,084 crime incidents during the first nine months of this year against 223,581 cases reported during the same period last year (from January to July). The official record reveals that the police investigators failed to trace at least 8,464 crime cases reported across the province during the first nine months of this year. More than 51,000 cases are still under investigation.

According to the police statistics, at least 61,479 cases were registered under the head of crime against property from January to July 2019 as compared to 45,816 such cases reported during the same period in 2018. However, the ratio of crime against person dropped slightly this year as compared to the previous. The police this registered at least 28,983 cases in the category of crime against person as compared 29,767 such cases reported during the same period in 2018.

This year, the police reported at least 461 cases of dacoities (involving five or more than five gunmen) against 388 such incidents registered with the provincial police in 2018. The police so far have failed to trace 25 cases of dacoities.

The new police data shows that at least 9,201 armed robberies were reported during the first nine months of this year against 6,966 such cases reported during the corresponding period in 2018. Also, the police have failed to trace several at least 739 cases of armed robberies this year. At least 6,955 cases of burglary were reported by the police in 9 months of this year against 6,235 such cases registered during the same period in 2018.

The provincial police registered 822 theft cases this year against 774 theft cases reported during the corresponding period in 2018. The police also reported a considerable increase in cattle theft cases this year as compared to the previous year. According to police, at least 3,990 cattle theft cases were reported by police in nine months of this year in Punjab, while the police had registered 2,938 such cases during the same period in 2018.

The police, this year, reported at least 2,090 cases of motor vehicle snatching, while during the same period in 2018 the police had reported 1,863 such cases. As far as the motor-vehicle theft is concerned, the police reported 12,848 cases against 9,503 cases of motor vehicle theft reported during the same period in 2018. In Punjab, auto-lifting has become a booming business. More than 20,000 citizens are deprived of their vehicles every year. Less than 10 per cent of the total snatched or stolen vehicles are recovered by police annually, and thousands of auto-lifting cases are declared by police as “untraceable.”

The murder rate almost remains the same during the first nine months of 2019 as compared to 2018. This year, at least 2,336 murder cases were reported from January to July across the Punjab province. However, the police had reported at least 2,355 homicide cases during the corresponding in 2018. The provincial police also declared at least 40 murder cases as untraceable.

During the first nine months, the police also registered 3,083 attempted murder cases against 3,024 such incidents reported with the police in 2018. Police investigators were unable to solve many blind murder cases. In the category of blind murder, several victims were women and children who were found brutally murdered in different parts of the province.

The police are yet to solve the recent child rape and murder cases reported in Chunian district Kasur.  During the first nine months of this year, the police reported at least 8,486 kidnapping cases. However, the provincial police had reported 8,945 kidnapping cases during the same period in 2018. Most of the victims were said to be women and young girls who were abducted by gunmen. Also, the Punjab police registered at least 39 cases of kidnapping for ransom this year. Only 25 cases were registered with the police under the head of kidnapping for ransom last year (from January to July).

At least 2,187 rape cases were registered with the provincial police from January to July this year while during the matching period in 2018 the police had reported 1,859 rape cases. Similarly, at least 104 cases of gang rape were reported by police in nine months of this year against 118 such cases reported in 2018.