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Delhi lost Rs 9 crore a day to thieves, robbers in 2016; less than 5% of it recovered

Capital accounts 1/3rd value of all goods stolen or robbed across the country last year

delhi Updated: Dec 03, 2017 11:59 IST
Shiv Sunny
Shiv Sunny
Hindustan Times
Delhi news,crime in delhi,rising crime
A Delhi Police officer stands next stolen phones recovered after the arrest of a gang of phone snatchers.(HT File)

On an average, Delhi lost goods worth around Rs 9 crore to thieves, burglars, robbers and extortionists every day through 2016, a four-time jump compared to the previous year.

However, the huge number of complaints — particularly of thefts — that were registered with the police meant the investigators could recover only a miniscule percentage of these goods, revealed data by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).

Of the goods worth Rs 3,279 crore lost to criminals, only 4.8% (Rs 157-crore worth) of items were traced, making the Delhi Police’s performance worst among all states and Union Territories. In 2015, Delhi Police had recovered nearly 17.5% of the Rs 720-crore worth of stolen or robbed goods.

Responding to HT’s questions on these figures, Dependra Pathak, Delhi Police’s chief spokesperson, said the high value of stolen goods was due of the e-FIRs, the facility to register theft cases online. “A majority of the theft cases were registered online,” said Pathak.

While the e-FIR figures were not immediately available, the NCRB data showed that nearly 1.31 lakh thefts were reported in Delhi last year, a 25% jump from the year before that.

The officer attributed the poor recovery rate to the “inflated” value of lost products pegged by complainants and the “large number of cases” being probed by each investigating officer. He said all effort was being made to “speed up the probe and make the best possible recoveries”. Many of these investigators are burdened with as many as 200 cases, he added.

A senior police officer, on condition of anonymity, explained that a large number of people inflate the value of their lost products while registering FIRs online. “Also, people have started carrying more expensive belongings. Only these can explain how the worth of the stolen items rose by 4.5 times when the increase in these crimes was only 20-25%,” said the officer.

Victims often complain that there is a delayed police response when they report a theft online. On occasions, investigators have contacted victims nearly 20 days after a theft occurred, thus greatly reducing the possibility of recovery.

While the 1.31 lakh thefts contributed to the majority of the goods in question, while calculating the worth of the stolen goods, the NCRB also considered items lost to robberies, burglaries, dacoities and extortion.

These added crimes, which also caused people to lose their belongings, caused the number of such cases to bulge to 1.89 lakh.

According to the rules, a theft involving the use of force amounts to robbery. When five or more persons are involved in a robbery, it is classified as a dacoity.

Overall, Delhi accounted for one-third value of all the goods and properties that were stolen or robbed across India last year. In terms of sheer worth of the items, Delhi figured closely behind only Maharashtra, which has been leading the chart for the last three years.

The NCRB data on Thursday had showed Delhi the leader among all 19 metropolitan cities in terms of number of criminal cases registered. Nearly two lakh FIRs were registered in Delhi in 2016, significantly more than the second-placed Bengaluru that witnessed around 45,000 crimes.

When contacted on Friday, Delhi Police commissioner Amulya Patnaik had attributed the high figures mainly to thefts, highlighting that the heinous crimes like rapes and robberies had dipped.

Dependra Pathak said that many people choose to report even lost belongings as thefts while using the online facility, thus leading to a “substantial” increase in the cases and overall value of the missing goods. “All those cases were not necessarily thefts. Moreover, the large floating population of NCR chooses to lodge a case in Delhi because of the ease of getting a FIR registered here,” said Pathak.

The officer said that “the ease of registering FIRs in the national capital” also led to many people from the neighbouring NCR cities reporting the thefts of their vehicles in Delhi. “Those living along the border areas choose often choose to describe Delhi as the location of theft,” said Pathak. Of the 1.31 lakh thefts reported in Delhi last year, nearly 39,000 cases were of vehicles.

First Published: Dec 03, 2017 00:03 IST