Rapid urbanisation and migration have also been blamed for the increase in crimes. The economic stagnation of rural India has meant that more people are migrating to cities in hope of a better future. But without any particular skill set and education, they find their future as dark as ever. And, these young men, who have no hope for a comfortable future, often indulge in violence, especially against women. Social change and stricter laws alone cannot make our cities safe. There has to be a more holistic approach towards tackling the problem: it needs a combination of education, skill development and employment for as many as possible. Unless these young men feel that they have something to look forward to and it’s worthwhile to stay away from a life of crime, there will be no natural deterrence against their participation in anti-social activities.
Women often experience major rights violations as a consequence of such urban insecurity. A primary finding of a 2012 ActionAid research showed that women’s fear and insecurity sharply reduces their mobility. Women adjust their travel based on their own experiences and those of other women, avoiding certain modes, times and routes of transportation. Such violence even limits their full participation in public life; it also affects their psychological and psychosocial health and well-being. Women’s safety should be made a part of urban planning and policy agenda. But we must also remember that the dangers a woman experiences in private and public spaces are closely linked. Male control in the domestic arena can restrict women’s mobility in public spaces. So the change should start at home.