The number of crimes against women has risen sharply between January 1 and November 15, 2015 from the corresponding period last year. In all, 4111 crimes against women were registered during this period in 2015, 1,427 more than the 2,683 registered over the same period in 2014.
Crimes against women is an umbrella term that comprises rape, kidnapping, ‘outraging modesty’ and ‘intended insult to modesty’ under the Indian Penal Code.
The rise comes despite several measures taken by former Mumbai police commissioner Rakesh Maria to curb crimes against women, such as wireless police vans patrolling crowded places and the introduction of women beat marshals to respond quickly to such crimes.
And while the number of crimes has risen, the police’s ‘detection rate’ (the percentage of cases in which a suspect is arrested) has fallen from 75% in 2014 (Jan-Nov 15) to 70% in 2015.
Mumbai’s north region saw the highest number of rape cases – 161 – in 2015, followed by the west region with 156, central with 136, east with 124, and south with 43. The north region recorded the highest number of rape cases, 134, and south region the lowest, 45, in this period last year as well.
The east region saw the highest number of kidnappings, with 443 cases registered so far this year. It was followed by the west region with 309, north with 276, central with 253 and south with 83. Last year, the central region had the highest number of kidnapping cases with 106, and south the least with 39.
While the police continue to claim that the rise in the number of cases was down to more women reporting such crimes following the 2012 Delhi gang-rape, senior officers admitted there had been a rise, albeit small, in the number of incidents too.
“Because of rising awareness among women, more incidents are being reported these days. More women are also reporting crimes committed by people known to them, such as relatives and friends. The police have been instructed to take cognisance of these complaints, which has resulted in the spike in numbers,” said Deven Bharti, joint commissioner of police (law and order).
Dhananjay Kulkarni, deputy commissioner and Mumbai police spokesperson, said, “Rising crime cannot be ruled in a complex and multicultural city such as Mumbai, where the population keeps on rising. However, the rise in cases is not only a reflection of the rise in the number crimes.”