Crime in India
Crime in India exists in various forms, and has been tracked by time and location. Crime includes kidnapping; crimes against women, such as rape, domestic violence and dowry-related crime; organized crime, including illegal drug trade and arms trafficking; poaching and wildlife trafficking; cyber crime; corruption and police misconduct; as well as other crimes including petty crime, confidence tricks and taxi scams.
Crime over timeEdit
A report published by the National Crime Records Bureau compared the crime rates of 1953 and 2006. The report noted that burglary (known as house-breaking in India) declined over a period of 53 years by 79.84% (from 147,379, a rate of 39.3/100,000 in 1953 to 91,666, a rate of 7.9/100,000 in 2006), murder has increased by 7.39% (from 9,803, a rate of 2.61 in 1953 to 32,481, a rate of 2.81/100,000 in 2006).
Kidnapping has increased by 47.80% (from 5,261, a rate of 1.40/100,000 in 1953 to 23,991, a rate of 2.07/100,000 in 2006), robbery has declined by 28.85% (from 8,407, rate of 2.24/100,000 in 1953 to 18,456, rate of 18,456 in 2006) and riots have declined by 10.58% (from 20,529, a rate of 5.47/100,000 in 1953 to 56,641, a rate of 4.90/100,000 in 2006).
In 2006, 5,102,460 cognisable crimes were committed including 1,878,293 Indian Penal Code (IPC) crimes and 3,224,167 Special & Local Laws (SLL) crimes, with an increase of 1.5% over 2005 (50,26,337). IPC crime rate in 2006 was 167.7 compared to 165.3 in 2005 showing an increase of 1.5% in 2006 over 2005. SLL crime rate in 2006 was 287.9 compared to 290.5 in 2005 showing a decline of 0.9% in 2006 over 2005.
|Year||Total cog. crimes under IPC, per 100,000||Murder per 100,000||Kidnapping per 100,000||Robbery per 100,000||Burglary (known as house-breaking in India) per 100,000|
|% Change in 2006 over 1953||1.1||7.39||47.80||-28.85||-79.84|
SOURCE: National Crime Records Bureau
Crime by locationEdit
Location has a significant impact on crime in India. In 2012, Uttar Pradesh reported the highest cognisable crime rate of 455.8 among States of India, while Nagaland recorded lowest rates (47.7). The rates were calculated by National Crime Records Bureau as the number of incidents per 100,000 of the population.
In 2006, the highest crime rate was reported in Puducherry (447.7) for crimes under Indian Penal Code which is 2.7 times the national crime rate of 167.7. Kerala reported the highest crime rate at 312.5 amongst all the states of India.Kolkata (71.0) and Madurai (206.2) were the only two mega cities which reported less crime rate than their domain states West Bengal (79.0) and Tamil Nadu (227.6). Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore have accounted for 16.2%, 9.5% and 8.1% respectively of the total IPC crimes reported from 35 mega cities. Indore reported the highest crime rate (769.1) among the mega cities in India followed by Bhopal (719.5) and Jaipur (597.1).
Jammu and Kashmir (33.7%), Manipur (33.0%), Assam (30.4%) and Daman and Diu and Puducherry (29.4%) reported higher violent crime rate compared to 18.4% at national level. Uttar Pradesh reported the highest incidence of violent crimes accounting for 12.1% of total violent crimes in India (40,613 out of 3,305,901) followed by Maharashtra with 11.1% (30,290 out of 3,305,901). Among 35 mega cities, Delhi reported 31.2% (533 out of 1,706) of total rape cases. Madhya Pradesh has reported the highest number of rape cases (2,900) accounting for 15.0% of total such cases reported in the country. Uttar Pradesh reported 10% (5,480 out of 32,481) of total murder cases in the country and 18.4% (4,997 out of 27,230) total attempt to murder cases.
As of 2016[update] Uttar Pradesh had a lower crime rate when solely considering crimes punished under the IPC, but because of the large number of offenses being prosecuted under its local laws and special laws, its overall crime rate, 1,293, is ten times the size of its IPC crime rate.[irrelevant citation]
|Jammu & Kashmir||1.3||1.0|
Crimes against womenEdit
Police records shows incidence of crimes against women in India. Sexual assault against women in India though not common is present. Despite a large population statistically sexual assault in India is not rampant. Media is active in highlighting cases of Sexual assault against women.
Rape in India has been described by Radha Kumar as one of India's most common crimes against women. Official sources show that rape cases in India have doubled between 1990 and 2008 In most of the rape cases, the culprit is known to the victim.
According to National Crime Records Bureau data of 2012, Gujarat has the lowest rape rate (0.8) while Mizoram had the highest rape rate with a value of 10.1. the National Average was at 2.1. The rates were calculated by National Crime Records Bureau as the number of incidents per 100,000 of the population
Most dowry deaths occur when the young woman, unable to bear the harassment and torture, commits suicide. Most of these suicides are by hanging, poisoning or by fire. Sometimes the woman is killed by setting her on fire - this is known as bride burning, and is sometimes disguised as suicide or accident. In 2012, 8,233 dowry death cases were reported across India. Dowry issues caused 1.4 deaths per year per 100,000 women in India.
The National Crime Records Bureau reveal that a crime against a woman is committed every three minutes, a woman is raped every 29 minutes, a dowry death occurs every 77 minutes, and one case of cruelty committed by either the husband or relative of the husband occurs every nine minutes. This occurs despite the fact that women in India are legally protected from domestic abuse under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act.
Illegal drug tradeEdit
India is located between two major illicit opium producing centres in Asia – the Golden Crescent comprising Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran and the Golden Triangle comprising Burma, Thailand and Laos. Because of such geographical location, India experiences large amount of drug trafficking through the borders. India is the world's largest producer of licit opium for the pharmaceutical trade. But an undetermined quantity of opium is diverted to illicit international drug markets.
India is a transshipment point for heroin from Southwest Asian countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan and from Southeast Asian countries like Burma, Laos, and Thailand. Heroin is smuggled from Pakistan and Burma, with some quantities transshipped through Nepal. Most heroin shipped from India are destined for Europe. There have been reports of heroin smuggled from Mumbai to Nigeria for further export.
In Maharashtra, Mumbai is an important centre for distribution of drug. The most commonly used drug in Mumbai is Indian heroin (called desi mal by the local population). Both public transportation (road and rail transportation) and private transportation are used for this drug trade.
Drug trafficking affects the country in many ways.
- Drug abuse: Cultivation of illicit narcotic substances and drug trafficking affects the health of the individuals and destroy the economic structure of the family and society.
- Organised crime: Drug trafficking results in growth of organised crime which affects social security. Organised crime connects drug trafficking with corruption and money laundering.
- Political instability: Drug trafficking also aggravates the political instability in North-West and North-East India.
A survey conducted in 2003–2004 by Narcotics Control Bureau found that India has at least four million drug addicts. The most common drugs used in India are cannabis, hashish, opium and heroin. In 2006 alone, India's law enforcing agencies recovered 230 kg heroin and 203 kg of cocaine. In an annual government report in 2007, the United States named India among 20 major hubs for trafficking of illegal drugs along with Pakistan, Afghanistan and Burma. However, studies reveal that most of the criminals caught in this crime are either Nigerian or US nationals.
Several measures have been taken by the Government of India to combat drug trafficking in the country. India is a party of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (1961), the Convention on Psychotropic Substances (1971), the Protocol Amending the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (1972) and the United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (1988). An Indo-Pakistani committee was set up in 1986 to prevent trafficking in narcotic drugs. India signed a convention with the United Arab Emirates in 1994 to control drug trafficking. In 1995, India signed an agreement with Egypt for investigation of drug cases and exchange of information and a Memorandum of Understanding of the Prevention of Illicit Trafficking in Drugs with Iran.
According to a joint report published by Oxfam, Amnesty International and the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) in 2006, there are around 40 million illegal small arms in India out of approximately 75 million in worldwide circulation. Majority of the illegal small arms make its way into the states of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh. In UP, a used AK-47 costs $3,800 in black market. Large amount of illegal small arms are manufactured in various illegal arms factories in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and sold on the black market for as little as $5.08.
Chinese pistols are in demand in the illegal small arms market in India because they are easily available and cheaper. This trend poses a significant problem for the states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh which have influence of Naxalism. The porous Indo-Nepal border is an entry point for Chinese pistols, AK-47 and M-16 rifles into India as these arms are used by the Naxalites who have ties to Maoists in Nepal.
In North-East India, there is a huge influx of small arms due to the insurgent groups operating there. The small arms in North-East India come from insurgent groups in Burma, black markets in Southeast Asia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka, black market in Cambodia, the People's Republic of China, insurgent groups like the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the Communist Party of India (Maoist), the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), Indian states like Uttar Pradesh and pilferages from legal gun factories, criminal organisations operating in India and South Asian countries and other international markets like Romania, Germany etc. Illegal weaponry found in North-East India includes small arms such as the M14, M16, AK-47, AK-56, and the AK-74, but also light machine guns, Chinese hand grenades, mines, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and submachine guns etc.
Poaching and wildlife traffickingEdit
Illegal wildlife trade in India has increased. According to a report published by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) in 2004, India is the chief target for the traders of wildlife skin. Between 1994 and 2003, there have been 784 cases where the skins of tiger, leopard or otter have been seized. Leopards, rhinoceros, reptiles, birds, insects, rare species of plants are being smuggled into the countries in Southeast Asia and the People's Republic of China. Between 1994 and 2003, poaching and seizure of 698 otters have been documented in India.
Kathmandu is a key staging point for illegal skins smuggled from India bound for Tibet and PRC. The report by EIA noted there has been a lack of cross-border cooperation between India, Nepal and the People's Republic of China to coordinate enforcement operations and lack of political will to treat wildlife crime effectively. The poaching of the elephants is a significant problem in Southern India and in the North-Eastern states of Nagaland and Mizoram. The majority of tiger poaching happen in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. Following is a comparison of reported cases of tiger and leopard poaching from 1998 to 2003:
|Reported cases of tiger poaching||14||38||39||35||47||8|
|Reported cases of leopard poaching||28||80||201||69||87||15|
Samir Sinha, head of TRAFFIC India, the wildlife trade monitoring arm of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the World Conservation Union (IUCN), told Reuters in an interview "The situation regarding the illegal trade in wildlife parts in India is very grim. It is a vast, a varied trade ranging from smuggling of rare medicinal plants to butterflies to peafowl to tigers and it is difficult to predict how big it is, but the threats and dimensions suggest that the trade is increasing".
Project Tiger, a wildlife conservation project, was initiated in 1972 and was launched by Indira Gandhi on 1 April 1973. With 23 tiger reserves, Project Tiger claimed to have succeeded. But according to critics like conservationist Billy Arjan Singh, temporary increases in tiger population were caused by immigration due to destruction of habitat in Nepal, not because of the widely acclaimed success of wildlife policy in India.
The Information Technology Act 2000 was passed by the Parliament of India in May 2000, aiming to curb cyber crimes and provide a legal framework for e-commerce transactions. However Pavan Duggal, lawyer of Supreme Court of India and cyber law expert, viewed "The IT Act, 2000, is primarily meant to be a legislation to promote e-commerce. It is not very effective in dealing with several emerging cyber crimes like cyber harassment, defamation, stalking and so on". Although cyber crime cells have been set up in major cities, Duggal noted the problem is that most cases remain unreported due to a lack of awareness.
In 2001, India and United States had set up an India-US cyber security forum as part of a counter-terrorism dialogue.
Corruption and police misconductEdit
Corruption is widespread in India. It is prevalent within every section and every level of the society. Corruption has taken the role of a pervasive aspect of Indian politics. In India, corruption takes the form of bribes, evasion of tax and exchange controls, embezzlement, etc.
Despite state prohibitions against torture and custodial misconduct by the police, torture is widespread in police custody, which is a major reason behind deaths in custody. The police often torture innocent people until a 'confession' is obtained to save influential and wealthy offenders. G.P. Joshi, the programme coordinator of the Indian branch of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative in New Delhi comments that the main issue at hand concerning police violence is a lack of accountability of the police.
In 2006, the Supreme Court of India in a judgment in the Prakash Singh vs. Union of India case, ordered central and state governments with seven directives to begin the process of police reform. The main objectives of this set of directives was twofold, providing tenure to and streamlining the appointment/transfer processes of policemen, and increasing the accountability of the police.
Petty crime, like pickpocketing, theft of valuables from luggage on trains and buses have been reported. Travelers who are not in groups become easy victims of pickpockets and purse snatchers. Purse snatchers work in crowded areas.
Many scams are perpetrated against foreign travellers, especially in Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan. Scammers usually target younger foreign tourists and suggest to them that money can be made by privately transporting gems or gold, or by taking delivery abroad of expensive carpets, avoiding customs duties.
Such incidents occupy the traveller for several days. The traveller is then passed to a new scam artist who offers to show the foreign traveller the sights. Scam artists also offer cheap lodgings and meals to foreign travellers so they can place him or her in the scam artist's physical custody and thus make the foreigner vulnerable to threats and physical coercion. In the process, the foreigner loses his passport.
Besides these, there are also unofficial guides to watch out for. They can be found all over India such as at crowded transportation hubs and at tourist attractions. A common ruse at transportation hubs is to claim that there is no train to your destination or to claim that a place is closed. The aim is to get you to take their expensive private transport or to an expensive hotel where they get a cut. As for the guides at tourist attractions, these could be temples, mosques, or places such as the Varanasi Ghat. You will end up receiving unsolicited services and then asked to pay a big tip for them.
There are also taxi scams present in India, whereby a foreign traveller, who is not aware of the locations around Indian airports, is taken for a ride round the whole airport and charged for full-fare taxi ride while the terminal is only few hundred yards away. Overseas Security Advisory Council in a report mentioned the process about how to avoid taxi-scam. This crime is known in other areas of the world as "long-hauling".
Crime prevention is critical to maintain law and order in the country. Deterring criminals through deployment of more police is one of the major strategy practised. However, their relationship is very complex. There are also other reasons such as unemployment, poverty, a lower per capita income which can affect the crime rates in India.
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