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Saturday, April 13, 2024

How Karachi is combatting street crimes

Over 56,500 cases of street crime have been reported in Karachi during the current year, as shown in the data. Over 19,000 mobile phones were snatched from citizens, 104 cars were forcefully taken and 1,383 bikes were stolen.

On Friday, October 07, 2022, a resident of Karachi posted on an online Facebook group that reads as follows: “My brother’s bike #KMH-XXXX is stolen outside the house, anyone who has any information about the bike, please inform me on 0314-XXXXXXX.” (Bike and phone numbers were changed for privacy reasons).

It was posted in “Chori Update-Karachi”, a private Facebook group with over 67 thousand members. A large number of such statuses are posted by individuals every day in the group mentioning the location, time and other details of street crimes in Karachi. The motive behind such posts is to spread awareness, locate stolen vehicles and identify thieves caught on camera.

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A surge in street crimes

Street crimes have remained a serious problem in Karachi in the past two decades. As per the data, this year, a total of 56,500 cases of street crime have been reported in Karachi. Out of these, 19,000 were mobile phone snatching cases, 104 were car theft cases and 1,383 were bike theft cases.

Additionally, around 35,000 motorbikes have been stolen in various incidents throughout the city. These numbers represent a significant increase in crime compared to previous years and show no signs of slowing down. This rise in street crime has caused a great deal of concern among residents of Karachi and has led to a call for increased security measures to be put in place.

An online community of resistance

The digital age has given rise to a new breed of activists. Ones who are not afraid to use the power of the internet to speak out against injustice and inequality. “Chorii Update-Karachi” is one such online community of resistance that is making its voice heard in Karachi. This group is using the power of social media to raise awareness about street crimes and to call for action on the part of the government. The emergence of the community is partly because of the recent upsurge in street crimes in Karachi and partly because of the provincial government’s failure to curb such crimes.

It is a proactive measure taken by individuals to spread awareness and protect themselves from street crimes. The community is a space for local people to share information and coordinate resistance. It also offers a sense of community and belonging for members who might otherwise feel isolated. Members of the community believe that the provincial government is not doing enough to protect them and that the police are often ineffective or corrupt. They believe that the only way to keep their neighborhoods safe is to mobilize the public against such crimes.

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The cooperation within the community

Cooperation within this online community of resistance can be seen in the group rules, which mention that members must be respectful and supportive of each other. A more practical example of this can be observed in the form of reactions and comments to posts, which are usually supportive in nature. An observational analysis of the reactions and comments in reply to routine posts sketches an atmosphere of mutual support and cooperation between the group members.

Such cooperation is extremely useful in highlighting issues not covered by mainstream media. For example, an anonymous group member posted a CCTV footage saying: “They’ve snatched my mobile phone, a bag with 5 thousand cash, CNIC (Original), ATM card, Cheque book. If anyone can identify the Bike and the snatcher in the video.” Another group member advised: “Submit the footage to CCTV views (Another online community where regular CCTV footage of crimes is uploaded).

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While the concept of “online communities of resistance” is a growing phenomenon, it is still in its early stages. There is much debate surrounding the merits and drawbacks of online resistance measures. But as more people become dissatisfied with government performances and police efficiency, the movement will surely grow. It is especially relevant in light of recent advances in communications and information-gathering technologies, which have provided the general public with opportunities to hold the government accountable and also serve as a way to coordinate resistance against government inaction.



Muhammad Adnan is a journalist and researcher. He can be reached on Twitter at @Iammadnan. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.