Tamil Nadu reported the highest number of murders of elderly people in the country in 2021, according to the Crime in India report released by the National Crime Records Bureau recently.
In 191 murder cases involving the elderly, 202 people aged above 60 were killed. This accounts for 11.3% of a total of 1,686 murder cases reported in the State, in which 1,741 people were killed. The second highest number of murders involving the elderly was reported in Maharashtra. Of the 2,142 murder cases reported there, 181 had senior citizens as victims.
The number of murders involving the elderly has seen a gradual rise in the State since 2019. This is despite the total number of murders witnessing a decline. In 2019, 173 of the 1,745 murder cases reported in the State had elderly victims. In 2021, the respective figures were 191 and 1,686.
The year 2021 marked the first time in recent years that Tamil Nadu topped the table in murders of elderly people. The latest report has come against the backdrop of a few sensational murders of elderly people reported in the State over the past few months.
In July 2022, an elderly couple was found murdered in their house at Rajapalayam in Virudhunagar district. Last month, an elderly woman was found murdered in Tiruppur.
Tamil Nadu is among the few States with a high percentage of elderly population. According to the Elderly in India 2021 report released by the Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, the percentage of the projected elderly population in Tamil Nadu was 13.6 - the second highest in the country. Kerala had the highest, with 16.5% of its population aged above 60.
A closer analysis of the data showed that Tamil Nadu also had the highest crime rate when it came to murders of elderly people.
The crime rate is calculated as the number of crimes per one lakh population. For instance, 17.2% of the 337 murders reported in Kerala had elderly people as victims. This is higher than Tamil Nadu’s percentage of 11.3. However, the crime rate in Kerala was 0.99, compared to Tamil Nadu’s 1.83. The crime rate of murders involving the elderly was among the highest in India. Only a few Union Territories and States like Chhattisgarh and Sikkim had a higher rate.
Edwin Babu, joint director of the non-governmental organisation HelpAge India, stressed on the need for an increased cooperation among the police and the elderly people to reduce such crimes. He said more awareness programmes should be conducted in tier-2 and tier-3 cities. He expressed hope that the Tamil Nadu Policy on Senior Citizens, which is being finalised now, would strengthen the safety measures in place for elderly people.