Crime in Metros in India in 2022
December 21, 2023 Vaidya R
Crime in India 2022, is a three volume report from the National Crime Records Bureau(NCRB) under the Ministry of Home, Government of India. The report is a collection of statistics on crime in India at the national, states/UTs and major metros (defined as having population over 2 million) level. The data is aggregated from state police departments and based on police recorded crimes (FIRs/chargesheets) in the states.
The crimes are categorised into 20 categories including murder, kidnapping and abduction, economic offences, cyber crimes, corruption, and crime against women, children, senior citizens, SCs, STs. For the purpose of this analysis we look at 5 categories:
- Crimes against women
- Crimes against children
- Crimes against senior citizens
- Economic offences
- Cyber Crime
The reason for choosing these categories is that they affect specific groups of citizens and give you an idea of safety in the cities for them, with caveats as per the disclaimer below. Crimes against SCs/STs were not considered – while the records show trends at the states/UT level, there was no discernible trend seen in the main cities considered.
While the records for the metros consider 19 major cities, for our analysis we consider only the following metros: Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune.
The report cautions us from reading too much into the statistics and makes some disclaimers:
- The differences in procedures over large geographical regions and methods of functioning inherent between organizations creates wide variations.
- No weightage has been assigned to the gravity or nature of the crime. All crimes have thus been treated equal in counting the total crime for a state or city. More crime registered in a city is, therefore, not an indicator of its being comparatively unsafe than another city where total crime may be less.
- The primary presumption that the upward swing in police data indicates an increase in crime and thus a reflection of the ineffectiveness of the police is fallacious. “Rise in crime” and “increase in registration of crime by police” are two different things, a fact which requires better understanding.
While these are important disclaimers which we need to read the data alongside, these statistics mainly give an indication of the state of crime in different cities for different groups. Along with comparison between cities, where we assume that barriers to accessing a police station and filing a police case are much less, it also shows us the trend of specific types of crimes in cities. In most cases it also shows up the barriers to filing cases. Victims being unable to register a crime is also a problem that needs to be addressed by the police.
For the above reasons, the data and proportions are presented as-is without venturing into causal factors. The data analysis and trends from this analysis can be fodder for further analysis and ground-truthing to understand what is happening in each city.
Crime against women
In 2022, 4.45L cases of crime against women were recorded in India, which is a 4% increase from 2021. A large portion of these cases, 31.4%, fall under the category of “cruelty by husband and his relatives” (Sec 498A IPC). Kidnapping and abduction, 19.2%, comes next followed by “assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty (Sec. 354 IPC)” at 18.7%.
Among cities Delhi leads with 14,158 cases of crime against women registered in 2022, followed by Mumbai at 6,176, less than half of Delhi, and Bengaluru at 3,924.
On closer analysis of the types of crime in Delhi, 4876 or 34.4% are Sec 498A – cruelty by the husband and his relatives, followed by 3909 cases of kidnapping and abduction or 27.6%, which is much higher than the national average.
Crimes against children
1.62L cases were recorded for crimes against children in 2022 in India, an uptick of 8% from 2021. Kidnapping and abduction form 45.7% of the cases followed by cases under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) at 39.7%.
Among cities, once again Delhi records the highest number of cases registered at 7400, which has been steadily increasing every year. Mumbai and Bengaluru follow with 3178 and 1578 cases respectively. Similar to crimes against women, the number of cases in the second-ranked Mumbai are less than half that of Delhi.
Of the 7400 cases, 5323, or 72% of the cases registered in Delhi were kidnapping and abduction. In comparison, this proportion is 54% in Mumbai, closer to the national average. 1511 or 20.4% of the cases in Delhi were filed under POCSO Act.
Crimes against senior citizens
Crimes where the victims are over 60 years in age are categorised as crimes against senior citizens, without a specific Act or IPC section being applicable. A total of 28,545 cases were registered in this category in 2022 all over India with an increase of 9.3% from 2021. Simple hurt (27.3%) followed by theft (13.8%) were the main sub-categories for crimes against senior citizens.
Once again, Delhi leads with 1313 cases registered followed by Mumbai and Bengaluru. In this category too Delhi recorded more than twice the number of cases than the next placed Mumbai.
In Delhi, 627, or 47.7% of the cases were of theft. Forgery, cheating and fraud follows at 189 cases or 15%. In comparison, in the case of the next-placed Mumbai, 26% of the cases were of theft and 32.69% were of cheating and fraud.
Economic offences and crimes
Crimes like forgery, cheating and fraud are predominant in this category. 1.93L crimes were recorded under this head in 2022, an increase of 11.1% from 2021. 88% of the cases were under the large category of “Forgery, Cheating and Fraud”(FCF) followed by criminal breach of trust.
Unlike in earlier headers, Delhi ranks third here with 5007 cases registered, behind Mumbai and Hyderabad. In Mumbai, 5855 or 84% of the cases were registered under FCF. In Hyderabad and Delhi, 96% and 94% of the economic offences were under FCF.
There were 65,893 cases of cyber crimes in India in 2022. Most significantly, this was a 24.4% increase from 2021! 64.8% of these cases were with a motive of fraud, followed by extortion and sexual exploitation at around 5.5% each.
Bengaluru, the IT capital of India, leads with close to 10,000 cases registered, or around 15% of the total cyber crime cases registered in the country. Mumbai and Hyderabad follow behind, but with less than half of Bengaluru’s cases. Interestingly, rest of the cities do not even reach 4 digits.
The sub-headers and cases under which they are filed varies widely between the three cities. Sec 66D – “cheating by personation using computer resource” accounts for 6319 or 63.6% of the cases in Bengaluru, followed by identity theft at 2876 or 29% of the cases. These categories, however, constitute less than 1% of the cases in Hyderabad and Mumbai.
In Hyderabad, 84% of the cases are lodged under Sec 420 of the IPC relating to fraud and cheating. Of this, 2456 are filed under online banking frauds. In the case of Mumbai too most of the cases fall under Sec 420 of the IPC for cheating and fraud.
This seems to suggest that registering cases under cyber crime is still a novel concept, and police in different cities could be prosecuting similar cases under different IPC sections. It should ideally evolve in time to have a more uniform way of using IPC sections.
As we saw in earlier categories, Delhi leads with the most number of cases, with a total of 3.18L cases followed by Mumbai and Ahmedabad at 89,000 and 54,000 respectively. Bengaluru follows Ahmedabad closely behind at 46,000 cases.
Interestingly, Chennai seems to be seeing a rapid year on year decrease from 2020. With more than 1L cases in both 2020 and 2021, it has dropped to 39,000 in 2022. While it suggests better policing on first glance, such a drastic decline suggests an error in data. Given that the data is compiled from state police departments, it could be a lower number given by the Tamil Nadu police. In some cases, there could be a delay and the next year’s numbers might show a higher number from what we are seeing now.
Some cities, like Kolkata and Pune, show consistently low numbers for all crimes. Whether they are inherently crime-free or it reflects a poor rate of filing FIRs is hard to tell. The disclaimer from the report applies here.