Home >News >India >Crime rate plunges amid lockdown, but domestic abuse cases may go up

NEW DELHI : With fewer people venturing out, crime across the country has seen a sharp drop. The sharpest decline was seen in Delhi and Karanataka, where crime rates plunged by half after the 21-day lockdown was announced.

While crimes such as theft, murder and molestations have reduced, experts fear that cases of domestic violence and cybercrimes might have increased in the lockdown period and many of them have not been reported.

“Domestic violence will increase. This is happening across the world. There is an increased chance because of the uncertainty associated with this disease," said Manasi Mishra, head of the research division, Centre for Social Research.

Crime saw a significant decline over the past one month, since Delhi banned all public gatherings, followed by the nationwide lockdown that took effect from 25 March, Delhi Police said. The total number of crimes dropped to 1,890 in 2020 from 3,416 in the previous year .

Cases of molestation of women dropped to 72 this year from 144 in the previous year. The number of kidnappings also dropped to 150 from 259, while the number robberies fell to 53 from 109. Motor vehicles thefts to 1,243 from 1,982.

There has been a step up in vigilance across the national capital. The sealing of Delhi’s borders has also proved helpful in lowering the crime rate.

“We are cracking down on all suspicious movement," a Delhi Police official said. “Drones have helped us keep track of even the smallest movement."

Officials in Karnataka said that it is but natural that crime rates have come down.

“Crime rates must have dropped to 20-25% if not more," said Praveen Sood, director general and inspector general of police, Karnataka.

Theft may have come down as everyone is at home, said Sood. Even accidents have come down to zero, he said. This is largely because, with the lockdown in place, Bengaluru has just 2% of its actual vehicle population on the streets, he added. However, there have been raids against makers of fake sanitizers and racketeers trying to profit from the crisis, the police said.

In Kerala, the lockdown may have made a dent in many illicit businesses, but some criminals are taking advantage of new opportunities such as organised smuggling of people through closed borders for 1,000 for every person taken through, said the police.

Sharan Poovanna and Nidheesh M. K. contributed to this story.

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