NCRB data: In Delhi, A long way to go for women’s safety
The NCRB data showed that at 997, the number of rape cases in the Capital was the highest among all Union Territories.
While crimes against women in Delhi declined by 24.65% in 2020 as compared to 2019, possibly on account of the Covid-19 pandemic that kept people mostly indoors last year, the national capital still topped the Union Territories (UTs) in the number of rapes reported, showed the latest National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report released on Tuesday.
Delhi recorded 10,093 cases of crimes against women in 2020, as compared to 13,395 cases in 2019 – a decline of 24.65%. But the NCRB data showed that at 997, the number of rape cases in the capital was the highest among all UTs.
When it came to crime per population, too, Delhi fared poorly with a figure of 10.5, second only to Rajasthan which recorded 13.9. When compared with cities with a population of two million or more, the national capital was second, after Jaipur at 13.3.
The NCRB data showed that among the total 249,192 IPC (Indian Penal Code) cases, cruelty by husband or his relatives formed a major chunk at 2,557, while assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty numbered 1,840 and dowry deaths 110.
A total of 204 girls fell victims to human trafficking, but police said several such rackets that brought girls to Delhi were busted and the kingpins arrested. In 2020, there was also one case of murder and gang-rape, two cases of acid attack and three of attempted acid attacks, according to the NCRB.
Since women safety is one of the priorities for the Delhi Police, officers said they have ensured that there are more personnel available to cases of crimes against women.
A senior Delhi Police official, on condition of anonymity, said, “While the Covid cases were on the rise during the first wave of the pandemic, there were more cases of domestic violence being reported but they reduced when the lockdown was lifted. Due to the increased police presence on the roads, on account of the pandemic, the number of crimes against women on streets also came down.”
To be sure, Delhi witnessed a strict lockdown in 2020, spread across various months, to contain the spread of Covid-19. The movement of people across the city was highly curtailed and activities and businesses were allowed to open only in a phased manner towards the latter half of 2020.
Neeraj Kumar, former Delhi Police commissioner, also pointed to the lockdown for the reduction in cases. He said it was possible that people could not come out to report crimes as they were confined to their homes. “The downward trend this year could be due to the pandemic and if the current situation continues, we may see a similar downward trend in the coming months as well,” he said.
The former police chief said people were becoming more “aware”. “It’s certain that society is changing and people are more aware. Awareness is a slow process but it definitely leads to a reduction in the crime rate,” he said.
“But there should be proper lighting, better police presence and awareness by the security staff to ensure that the number of crimes against women reduce even further,” Kumar said.
Swati Maliwal, chairperson, Delhi Commission for Women, said, “The NCRB gives data only about the crimes that have been reported. And while these may have reduced due to the lockdown, it is also possible that women were unable to report crimes, especially domestic violence, properly. Just because reporting has reduced, it does not imply that crimes have also reduced. The world over, a trend was seen last year of domestic violence increasing during the lockdown. Further, the recent rapes in the capital have only shown how the brutality of crimes against women and girls has significantly increased.”
In December, a 16-year-old girl from Samaypur Badli area was kidnapped allegedly by one of her neighbours. She was rescued by Delhi Police after extensive surveillance of the suspects, who were later arrested. In November, an 11-year-old girl was sexually assaulted by a man known to her father at their house in north-west Delhi’s Vijay Vihar.