Crime rate rises on low base effect of pandemic

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The national capital recorded a 15% jump in the overall crimes registered in 2021 compared to the previous year, and the cases under heinous crimes category such as robbery, kidnapping, rape and snatching registered a minor increase compared to 2020, when a nationwide lockdown was in force to check the spread of Covid-19, the Delhi Police said on Thursday during its annual press conference, even as the number of arrests increased during the same span.

According to data shared by the Delhi Police, the city recorded a total of 306,389 crimes registered under sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) compared to 266,070 in 2020. The share of heinous crimes in the overall cases in 2021 was 5,740 cases compared to 5,413 in 2020.

The number of rape cases also went up from 1,618 (data till December 15) in 2020 to 1,969 in 2021, the data shows.

Cases of snatching, one of the most common street crimes in the capital, increased from 9,383 in 2021 to 7,965 in 2020, the police said, but added that 17% more arrests in such cases were made compared to 2020.

Among heinous crimes category, murders recorded a slight dip of 3% in 2021 compared to 2020, the data showed. Also, of the 472 murders in 2020, 53 were those recorded during the north-east Delhi riots.

Delhi Police commissioner Rakesh Asthana said the increase in the number of heinous crimes can be attributed to the fair and prompt registration of cases by the city police, as well as the low base thanks to the complete shutdown during 2020 on account of Covid-19, which led to an overall decrease in the number of crimes reported that year.

Speaking about the various initiatives that Delhi Police launched in the past one year, Asthana said the merger of police control room (PCR) van personnel with the local police led to a reduction in distress call response time from 7.5 minutes to 4.3 minutes. He also spoke about the practice of separating law and order duties from investigation that was started across police stations last year. As part of the process, one inspector from each station has been assigned the role of overseeing investigation of cases. And two other inspectors, including the station head oversee the law and order arrangements in the area. This, experts have said, has led an improvement in investigations with dedicated teams deployed for the job.

Asthana also said that within two-three years, the force will have a separate drone unit for handling law and order arrangements, situational awareness, traffic management, securing vulnerable installations and surveillance. “Delhi Police is equipping itself with drone technology and keeping this in mind, in the coming two-three years, we will be having a separate unit especially for drones for not only using it but for also its maintenance and handling. We are very seriously and expeditiously working on it,” he said.

Stressing on the effective usage of technology, the commissioner said the Delhi Police currently operates more than 15,215 CCTV cameras, and 10,000 CCTV cameras would soon be added under the 890-crore ‘Safe City Project’, which is funded by the government under the Nirbhaya fund. “Around 90 per cent of cases are solved through scanning of CCTV cameras and mobile forensics,” Asthana said explaining the importance of the initiative.

Rajender Singh, a retired assistant commissioner of police, who worked with the Delhi Police for over three decades, and handled important cases such as the 2012 Delhi gangrape case, said, “Separating law and order duties from investigation will yield good results in the future. A policeperson is considered a jack of all trades and is accordingly given assignments. But, having a dedicated investigation team will improve the quality of the investigation. Our cases are scrutinised in court and often police personnel face flak for not conducting an in-depth investigation. But an initiative like this will improve the quality of investigation. In the coming years, maybe we will have one senior officer, such as a joint commissioner or special commissioner, who will only monitor the investigations.”


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