A woman is raped every 5 hours, 10 mins in Delhi
While the overall number of crimes against women decreased in 2020 when compared to the previous year, the national capital still reported 1,699 rapes, 2,186 instances of molestation and 65 cases of sexual assault against children.
The cases were fewer when compared to 2019, when 2,168 rapes, 2,921 instances of molestation and 109 cases under the POCSO Act (The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012) were registered.
Delhi Police on Friday said this was the first time in several years that all types of crimes against women had reduced. To be sure, in 2020, owing to the Covid-19 lockdown in March, the movement of people had remained curtailed at least for four months, which could also be another reason for the reduction in numbers.
The absolute numbers and per-day averages of several key crimes, however, remained high — highlighting Delhi’s dark underbelly.
The city still experienced a rape every five hours, a murder every 19 hours, and a car theft every 15 minutes — though these averages were better than in 2019 (when the corresponding figures for rape, murder and auto theft were 4 hours, 17 hours, and 12 minutes). A snatching took place almost every hour in 2020, as compared to 17 in a day in 2019.
Experts said while the overall reduction in crime against women is heartening, the figures for 2020 show that women continue to be under threat in Delhi and there should not be even a single case of a crime against women.
On the rape cases, Delhi Police commissioner SN Shrivastava said less than 2% accused persons in the rape cases were strangers to victims. “The number of strangers involved has further reduced this year. In percentage terms, 1.77% of the accused were strangers as compared to 2.20% in 2019. As part of our strategy to tackle such crimes, we have identified hot spots (from where a high number of crimes against women are reported). Our teams work on such hot spots to reduce the numbers. Every complaint is monitored at the highest level,” he said.
The analysis of rape cases also showed that in 318 of the 1,699 rape cases, the accused was “in a live-in relationship” with the victim or “had refused to marry ” the victim.
Delhi Police attributed the reduction in cases to better policing and their strategies such as deploying women personnel as beat constables and getting police vans to patrol vulnerable stretches.
Madhu Vij, a Delhi-based gender expert, said,”I am not contending that the authorities have done a lot of work, be it making a mobile app for reporting your location or getting residents’ welfare associations and citizen groups involved to create awareness, to make Delhi safe for women. But I would say a lot still needs to be done. The city is still unsafe, especially for younger women. I still worry if my daughter or daughter-in-law stays out after dark and that is not because I think women should stay home and not live their life. It is because we still need to feel safe and perceptions will only change once the reality changes. There should not even be a single case (of crime against women),” Vij said.