Home Business Annual Crime Data Report May Not Be All That Dependable | Arabian Weekly

Annual Crime Data Report May Not Be All That Dependable | Arabian Weekly

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Annual Crime Data Report May Not Be All That Dependable | Arabian Weekly

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By Nantoo Banerjee

The crime in India has been recorded annually since the days of the British Raj. Currently, with more comprehensive statistics, the data is compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) under the Union Home Ministry. However, what remain unclear are the dependability of the data, the specific actions taken to control the crime rates, and prosecution record. A key source of the NCRB report is the police statement from 36 states and union territories. Additionally, similar data are furnished for 53 cities with populations exceeding 10 lakh each as per 2011 Census. Ordinarily, the NCRB report may look alright. However, the on-ground situation is somewhat different. The growing corruption and incompetence with the politically-controlled investigation-shy police department in states impacts the recording of crimes. Especially, illiterate citizens are at the receiving end when it comes to filing first information reports or FIRs with the police station.

The fact is: a murder is not a murder until and unless it is recorded by the police. The same is the case of rape, molestation, physical and sexual assault, domestic violence and political threat among others. Last week, the Calcutta High Court came down heavily on the investigating officer in a murder case in which the police did not mention the specific Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections connected with murder in the case. High Court Judge Joy Sengupta ordered the concerned police superintendent in the district to act against the investigating officer. Illegal activities are galore. Even, illegal arms bazars are held regularly in some parts of the country, right under the nose of the police. Therefore, the annual NCRB report may represent only a partial truth of ‘Crime in India’. Moreover, in terms of the conviction rate data, the crime report lacks credibility.

The NCRB report giving Kolkata the country’s safest metro city tag for the least number of cognizable offences per lakh population for the last three years in a row has already drawn flak from the state’s political opposition which don’t seem to be convinced with the accuracy of crime reporting by the city police. The NCRB report said the city witnessed a 16 percent drop in cognizable offences last year compared to the previous year. Kolkata recorded 103.4 cases of such offences per lakh people. The city was followed by Maharashtra’s Pune with 280.7 cases and Telangana’s Hyderabad with 299.2 cases per lakh people. How trustworthy are these reports? Do the politically-oriented enforcement agencies pay enough attention to proper detection and reporting of cognizable offences in states?

The general public don’t trust the police as they find making complaints with the police are rarely easy. They are often advised to make ‘general diaries’ with the police.  Illegal immigration from Bangladesh linked with demographic changes in India’s eastern border states and crimes such as women running and cattle smuggling are believed to be increasing over the years. Unfortunately, the ‘Crime in India’ report rarely highlights them. This year, the NCRB document detailed a substantial escalation in reported crimes against women, including abductions, assaults and rapes, soaring from 3,71,503 cases in 2020 to 4,45,256 cases, last year.

The release of the latest NCRB report was delayed by at least five months. The report contains several red flags, including a significant increase of 24.4 percent in cybercrimes. This is really disturbing. In a way, it mocks at the government’s increasing thrust on digitization covering almost every aspect of life. This ignores the fact that the country has the world’s largest illiterate population, estimated at 287 million. The literacy rate in India in 2023 is said to be around 77.7 percent.

For the present, the online world is rather unsafe for a majority of the country’s population. The NCRB report said that cybercrime is posing a growing threat to illicit online activities. Addressing the complexities of cybercrime is crucial to ensure the safety and security of individuals and organizations amidst technological advancements. Cybercrime poses a growing threat to illicit online activities in the digital era. Last year, cybercrime cases in the national capital region nearly doubled. Economic offences recorded a 11 percent growth and crime against senior citizens increased by nine percent. The current cybercrime trend is rather alarming and calls for a linkage of digital revolution with mass education with cyber consciousness and protective measures against digital threats. The recorded number of cybercrimes increased drastically from 52,974 in 2021 to 65,893, last year. Few will disagree that the cyber security cells under the state police are not strong enough to detect cybercrimes fast. Speed is the key to detect the smart, fast moving cybercriminals.

The ‘crime in India’ report is expectedly exhaustive. It covers such varied and wide-ranging areas as sudden death, suicide and accidental deaths, crime against women and children, murder, cybercrimes, crimes against SC and ST, economic offences, and the crimes under the Indian Penal Code. Suffice it to say that the police play a big role in the whole process. Unfortunately, the quality and efficiency of the police forces are often a suspect. The public perception of the police is extremely poor. The role of the ruling political parties in states play a major role in this regard. The police come under the department of home affairs. The department is generally held by the chief minister of a state. Directly or indirectly, the ruling political party satraps and their underlings tend to control the police. This appears to be mainly responsible for the growing dishonesty and incompetence among the police, making proper crime reporting and management difficult.

It’s time that both the central and state governments allow the police and crime investigation agencies work independently of political influence and indulgence. This is particularly relevant in the context of the long pending cases before the judiciary and the poor prosecution rate. The NCRB’s own report says over 75 percent of Indian prisoners are under trials. India’s jailed population in 2022 numbered 5,73,220. Only 1,33,415 were convicts. On the other hand, a National Judicial Data Grid-December 2020 report said there were 45 million pending cases in India and 75 percent of them were criminal matters. Those pending for over 30 years numbered 64,354. This makes the national annual crime data report appear somewhat comical. (IPA Service)

The post Annual Crime Data Report May Not Be All That Dependable first appeared on Latest India news, analysis and reports on IPA Newspack.

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