Causes of Street Violence: Explaining the Perceieved Effectiveness of Law Enforcing Institutions in Pakistan

Yasir Saeed (
Sociology, University of the Punjab
March, 2009


In this study, author extents his account of post-modernity to address questions of street violence and rule of law in contemporary period. This research examines the connection between street level violence and implementation of law. The study has explored new dimensions in the line of violence and research. One of the aims of the study is to delineate as clearly as possible the interplay of street violence, rule of law, street culture, and geography of violence. Various attempts have been made to analyze and explore the factors that may be contributing to street violence and the performance of law and order institutions. So far, none of the previous studies in the field of sociology, political science, and social sciences has used the framework of street violence.

The research was conducted in urban areas of Lahore, Pakistan by using both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies. In quantitative research survey, and focus group discussion in qualitative research had been used. The present research has used a conceptual framework of street violence and rule of law which may provides us some policy relevant indicators for improving the security condition in Pakistan.

The present study also focused on some new concepts that also contribute in amplifying street violence. According to the researcher geography plays a very crucial role in occurrence of street violence. Street culture is another indicator which supports the hypothesis of this research. Besides this, the extensive review of literature researcher tried to make relationship between all these concepts.

Findings of the research reveals that factors associated with street violence and ineffective performance of law and order institutions including: socio-cultural factors, social dispossession, deprivation, corruption, undemocratic environment, youth violence, less chances of punishment, vulnerable areas, and poor socio-economic conditions are significant. However, insensitivity of people is playing a major role in explaining violent behavior in the population and the violence is associated with these appears to be recreational.

Findings also suggest that minimal economic resources and perceptions of ineffective performance of law and order agencies also leave the citizens at risks for various violent activities. Results indicate that victimization on streets and bad experiences with police are related to violent behavior.

In the end, researcher tried to sum up with some valuable suggestions that can be taken at micro and macro level as well. There is a strong need to take positive measures through effective policies and programs to ensure effective performance of law and order institutions to eliminate street violence from the main stream of socio-economic, cultural and political life.

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