Kolkata has gained the top spot in the list of the country’s safest cities for the second consecutive year, with the lowest rate of cognizable offences recorded from here, according to the just-released 2018 National Crime Records Bureau report.
The Bengal capital, with a score of 152.2, comes on top of the list, which measures cognizable offences recorded per lakh people, followed by Hyderabad, Pune and Mumbai.
The city, however, has slipped to the second spot in terms of IPC cases (crimes covered under the Indian Penal Code). In this, Kolkata was beaten by Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu (134.4) by a whisker among 19 Indian cities, including the metros. This is despite Kolkata’s IPC crime rate of 2018 having fallen to 139.5 from 141.2 in 2017 and 159.6 in 2016. The figure is much better that the national average of 478.4, which saw a jump from 2017’s 462.2.
Cities with a population of more than 20 lakh are taken into consideration by NCRB for both categories.
Since 2016, Kolkata has been locked in intense competition with Coimbatore for the top slot.
Bengal’s performance, though, raised a few uneasy questions. The state was the fourth-most violent crime-prone after Assam, Tripura and Haryana. The state’s crime rate stood at 46.1, higher than states like Jammu and Kashmir (25.6) and even Uttar Pradesh (29.2).
The state, though, put up an improved performance when it came to controlling crime against women. Bengal dropped to the 10th position in rapes and, for the first time, moved out of the top-three as far as dowry deaths were concerned.
Kolkata’s crime rate has been on a downward slide for the past five years, with the total number of cases declining from 26,161 in 2014 to 19,682 in 2018, a 25% fall. The city fared well in containing violent crime, registering only 55 cases of murder and 143 attempts to murder. In comparison, Delhi registered 416 cases of murder and 473 murder attempts, while Mumbai registered 164 murders and 280 attempts. Kolkata also saw 14 rapes in 2018, compared with 15 in 2017.
The only black spot curiously remained the huge number of “hurt cases” (crimes that caused grievous injury). The city topped the national figures with 6,439 cases, compared with Delhi’s 4,460 and Bengaluru’s 3,560. The other black mark in Kolkata’s report card was that it again remained in the list of the only three cities — apart from Delhi and Chennai — to record two acid attacks.
Kolkata police commissioner Anuj Sharma said: “Focused attention of the state government towards creating infrastructure and additional manpower, creation of new police stations, upgrade of vigilance, both human and technological, among other things have helped greatly in the prevention and detection of crime. Various community-relevant programmes have, on one hand, brought the public nearer to the police in the city by creating confidence and by creating awareness among the general public. This has led to better policing in the city. With a shift towards ‘core policing’ during the last year, with a focus on night-policing, preventing crimes against women, consistent road checks, we expect to see further improvement in 2019 and 2020.”
Citing specific instances, Kolkata police brass said several ground-level changes, in both law and order maintenance and patrolling, along with stress on scientific crime detection, helped them. “Several vehicles from the wireless section were rerouted to the divisions for patrolling. The use of technology — from cameras that could read number plates to live feeds of incidents — also bore fruit. All this went a long way to help control crime,” said an additional CP.
Bengal’s performance is largely due to its improved performance in controlling crime against women — the total number of crimes committed against women dropping from 32,513 to 30,394. The rate of crime against women stood at 64.4, with at least seven states — Haryana, Rajasthan, Telangana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Assam — faring much worse.
The state also recorded fewer rapes (1,069) than 2017. But Bengal had the dubious distinction of recording the highest number of “hurt” cases (17,969) and attempts to murder (12,062), making it the country’s fourth most violent state.
Source: Times of India