Populated states driving India’s decline in crime

Pankaj Sharma and Ajay Vaishnav

Crime in India has traditionally followed the growth trajectory. But crime profile presented by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), in its just released 2011 report, presented a contrasting picture. Good news comes in small packages though it involves some of the bigger states in the country in terms of population.

If India has been able to register a decline of 7.4 percent in the overall crime rate in 2011, the credit must go to more populated states who have worked overtime to reduce crime. What comes as icing on the cake is that our policemen, otherwise infamous for their callousness and apathy, are increasingly becoming responsive to the needs of modern society.

A Zee Research Group (ZRG) analysis of National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) data revealed that major states that have registered dreadful crime rates in the past seem to have made substantial gains in tackling crime situation. Among states, Uttarakhand is leading with a massive reduction in crime rates by 48.61 percent in comparison to 2010. The number of criminal cases registered under both Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Special & Local Laws (SLL) in the state have come down to 87,070 in 2011 from 1,69,436 in 2010.

Uttarakhand is being followed by Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh with 44.22 percent and 8.82 percent respectively. Andhra Pradesh has reported 4, 51,804 criminal cases in 2011 against 8, 09,996 in 2010. Jharkhand and Punjab have also reduced their crime rate by 7.74 percent and 6.72 percent respectively. In Jharkhand, the number of criminal cases registered a decrease from 42821 in 2010 to 39503 in 2011 while in Punjab, it came down from 54986 in 2010 to 51289 in 2011.

In no way, the importance of these numbers can be underestimated as the ‘law and order’ and ‘police’ are designated as state subjects. Apart from the falling crime rates, the growing trend of police personnel taking cognizance of crime and initiating suo-moto action is heartening.

The ZRG analysis suggests that police in as many as 18 states and union territories have taken suo-moto complaints in 2011. Interestingly, among states, Uttar Pradesh has topped the chart with a total of 23, 40,553 complaints initiated by Police in 2011 against 21, 084, 97 in 2010. Andhra Pradesh and Uttarakhand follow with registration of 1, 65,405 and 1, 82,852 such cases in 2011 against 35,790 and 1, 55,043 in 2010.

Police in Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat too have show improvements. Police in Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat in 2011 registered 4, 06,484, 19,462 and 77,771 suo-moto complaints against 3,85,869, 0 and 73,298 in 2010 respectively.

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