Enumerating the Crime Rate of Lahore

Most crime instances in Lahore tend to generate from three major towns of Lahore, but Punjab Police also needs to consider broader issues such as types of crime incidences and when they occur to make effective interventions.

Lahore, a metropolis of Pakistan, is no longer a haven for people who dreamed of living safe and secure lives in the city. As of last year, about ten people were killed every day and a large number of murder cases were registered. Between 2015 and 2016, crime rate increased by a whopping 34 percent. While the numbers seem alarming, there is very little analysis available on how crime incidences are distributed across the city, which types of crime are more widespread than the others, and during what hours those crime incidences become more frequent.

Through the data on over 55,000 crime instances obtained from the Punjab Police, courtesy Technology for People Initiative (TPI), I have analyzed different facets of crime data of Lahore for the year 2014. This is the only year for which I had complete data. So, while my methodology is not perfect, I hope to shed some light on the patterns of crime incidences of Lahore that can be generalized to other years.

Firstly, most crime activities tend to generate from Iqbal Town, Nishtar Town, and Wagha Town. These three areas together contribute more than 50 percent of the total crime rate of Lahore. Iqbal Town and Nishtar Town are located in the southeastern and southern parts of Lahore, respectively, and are home to a number of commercial, residential and educational activities, including the oldest open university of Pakistan, Allama Iqbal Open University. The population density per square kilometer area and a relatively higher level of income of the families who live in these areas make Iqbal Town and Nishtar Town the most dangerous towns of Lahore.

These three towns also report highest number of cases for motorcycle theft and robbery ­– two main types of crime activities recorded in Lahore. In 2016, the number of vehicle theft increased so much that the Punjab Police had to establish checkpoints to ensure that the engine number of cars matched the record provided by the authorities. Robbery also tends to be higher in Gulberg and Samanabad Town — both of which are highly residential areas.

Cases of narcotics, besides originating from the three high crime-prone areas, also come from Data Gunj Baksh Town. This Town is home to Data Darbar, the largest sufi shrine in South Asia and the most sacred place in Lahore. However, sufis and malangs from different income backgrounds frequent this place and consume charas/hashish (narcotics) often.

Moreover, for an urban city like Lahore, it is a bit surprising to find out that that fewer incidences of crime take place after midnight and before noon. The city is a happening place at night because of its reputation for good food, but it does get its share of quiet time after midnight. However, most instances of crime seem to take place right during the midday and through the rest of the day until midnight.

The rate of crime also appears to behave consistently across all the months of 2014. There really is no break for the perpetrators in the colder months!

I spent good four years of my college in Lahore and it pains me that a progressive city like Lahore would take some time to come up with effective crime-prevention strategies. While a colleague from TPI gave me the data that I used to perform analyses on, I hope that the city governments and the federal government of Pakistan will make data on health, budget, crime and property available in a machine-readable format soon. Making government data open can provide many avenues for both residents and law enforcement agencies to track the progress of the welfare of their societies and make interventions where necessary.