NCRB data backs Delhi as 'rape capital' claim

Crimes against women rise sharply, most of all in Delhi

July 01, 2014 07:54 pm | Updated 08:59 pm IST - NEW DELHI

A file picture shows a human chain at India Gate, New Delhi to prevent violence against women. Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar.

A file picture shows a human chain at India Gate, New Delhi to prevent violence against women. Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar.

For the first time, official crime statistics establish Delhi as the “rape capital” of India. Even as the city has been informally referred to as such, data from the National Crime Records Bureau shows that this is the first time that the numbers back Delhi's dubious reputation.

With 18.63 reported rapes for every 1 lakh women, Delhi for the first time tops the country in reported rapes as a proportion of its population. In 2012, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Sikkim and Tripura all had higher numbers of reported rapes relative to their populations. Delhi experienced the biggest jump in the number of reported rapes among all states, with the number more than doubling to reach 1636. In absolute terms, Madhya Pradesh still leads the country in reported rapes, as it has historically.

Among cities, while Delhi city has the highest number of reported rapes, Gwalior and Jabalpur (both in Madhya Pradesh) had a higher number of rapes as a proportion of their populations.

A 27% increase in crimes against women propelled overall crime in India to its highest level in three years, data from the National Crime Records Bureau for 2013 shows. The murder rate fell slightly, the rates of theft and robbery rose by 10% and 17% respectively, but the number of reported rapes, molestation and harassment of women rose the fastest among cognisable crimes.

There were 33,707 rapes reported in 2013, or one rape reported every 15 minutes. In over 94% of reported rapes, both nationally and for Delhi, the alleged perpetrator was known to the victim, the NCRB data shows. There was a 45% increase in the number of reported rapes of children.

Cruelty by the husband or in-laws of a woman still makes up the largest component (38%) of crimes against women, followed by molestation, kidnap and rape. Among crimes against women, the biggest increases over 2012 were in molestation cases (70,739 cases, or 56% increase) and in harassment (12,589 cases, or 37% increase).

“Following the December 16 gangrape, there has been near continuous media and civil society focus on crimes against women. I think this would have enabled many more women to report crimes than before,” Kalpana Viswanath, researcher and women’s rights activist with Jagori, told The Hindu . Delhi police officials did not return repeated calls seeking comment.

While the number of persons arrested for rape also rose substantially ((35% increase compared to 7.8% for the previous period), the conviction rate for rape cases rose only slightly from 23% to 27%. Juveniles were increasingly the alleged perpetrators of crimes against women; the number of juveniles charges with rape rose by 60% over 2012, and the number accused of molestation more than doubled.

While Kerala remains the state with the highest crime rate, likely on account of better reporting and police recording, Delhi is now the second-most crime prone state, ahead of Madhya Pradesh which was at second place in 2012.

The representation of Muslims on the police force actually worsened, falling to just over 6% as of 2013, the data shows. Delhi leads the country in the largest number of complaints against its police force.

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