March 1, 2024

Lukmaan IAS

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AN ANALYSIS ON THE NCRB DATA: THE CRIME STORY

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THE CONTEXT: The latest edition of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report reveals disturbing trends. The recorded crimes against women, children, senior citizens, Scheduled Castes, and Scheduled Tribes show a steep increase, 468 people took their lives every day in 2022 and cybercrimes went up by nearly 25 per cent.

ABOUT NATIONAL CRIME RECORDS BUREAU(NCRB)

KEY HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE NATIONAL CRIME RECORDS BUREAU(NCRB) REOPRT

Decline in registration cases: In 2022, a total of 58,24,946 cognizable crimes comprising 35,61,379 Indian Penal Code (IPC) crimes and 22,63,567 Special and Local Laws (SLL) crimes were registered.

  • This was a decline of 4.5% in the registration of cases over the second pandemic year, 2021.

Crime rate: The crime rate has declined from 445.9 in 2021 to 422.2 in 2022.

Crime against women: 4,45,256 cases of crime against women were registered in 2022. This was an increase of 4% over the 2021 numbers.

  • The largest share of crimes against women under IPC sections was registered under ‘Cruelty by Husband or His Relatives’ (31.4%), followed by ‘Kidnapping & Abduction of Women’ (19.2%), and ‘Assault on Women with Intent to Outrage her Modesty’ (18.7%).

Cybercrimes: Reporting of cybercrime increased significantly by 24.4 percentage points compared to 2021.

  • Around 64.8% of registered cases were of fraud, followed by extortion (5.5%), and sexual exploitation (5.2%).

Suicides: An increase of 4.2% was observed in suicides reported during 2022 (1,70,924 suicides) as compared to 2021.

  • Family Problems (other than marriage-related problems)’ (31.7%), Marriage Related Problems (4.8%) and Illness (18.4%) have together accounted for 54.9% of total suicides in the country during the year 2022.

State-wise data in the report: The states/ UTs reporting the highest charge sheeting rate under IPC crimes are Kerala (96.0%), Puducherry (91.3%), and West Bengal (90.6%).

  • This is the percentage of cases in which the police reached the stage of framing charges against the accused, out of the total true cases.

ISSUES

Data Inefficiencies at the local level: NCRB report is only a compilation of data submitted at the local level, inefficiencies or gaps in data at that level have an impact on the accuracy of the report.

Pressure faced by marginalised social groups: There is also a growing body of scholarship which shows that people from marginalised social groups are often pressured into not reporting crimes against them.

Limitation due to Principal Offence Rule: The NCRB follows what is known as the ‘Principal Offence Rule’.

  • This means that among the many offences registered in a single FIR, the crime that attracts the most severe punishment is considered as the counting unit.
  • Thus, ‘Murder with Rape’ would be counted as ‘Murder’, not rape — which would result in an undercounting of the crime of rape.

Socio-economic causative factors are not captured: The socio-economic causative factors or reasons of crimes are not being captured by the Bureau.

Women find difficult to register FIRs: NFHS reports or recent studies that show that women find it difficult to register FIRs.

  • Women find it very difficult to report abusers in their close circles (husbands, fathers, partners, family members, friends).

Unfilled vacancies in the relevant posts:  shortage of police officers or unfilled vacancies in the relevant posts at the local level may hinder the collection of data.

THE WAY FORWARD

Demands action: Policymakers and law enforcement agencies should not overlook that almost every NCRB compilation has framed the vulnerabilities of women and marginalised sections.

Sharpen its methodologies: The NCRB must sharpen its methodologies and make its reports more nuanced.

Modernizing police forces: The police force today needs to tackle traditional crimes and cybercrimes. This calls for better and modernized communication, tracking and monitoring equipment.

Strengthening support services for victims: We can suggest strengthening support services for victims, providing safe shelter homes, and making legal aid more accessible.

Leverage Technologies: We can also leverage technology to create safer environments, such as panic buttons in public spaces and enhanced surveillance systems.

Formulating the annual police strategy: States should use NCRB’s data in formulating their annual police strategy, it should have a multi-dimensional and multi-purposed use in crime control, only then will this institution become result oriented.

CONCLUSION:

The growing incidents of cybercrime, as highlighted in the NCRB report, demands that law enforcement agencies remain proactive. Across the world, data is becoming an important tool for ensuring public safety.

PREVIOUS YEAR QUESTION:

Q) Explain why suicide among young women is increasing in Indian society. (2023)

MAINS PRACTICE QUESTION:

Q) While legal frameworks exist to address sexual violence against women, the disturbing reality is that these crimes continue to escalate. In this context, what innovative approaches can be implemented to tackle this menace effectively? Explain.

SOURCE: Express View on latest NCRB data: The crime story (indianexpress.com)

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