Kolkata remains safest Indian city: NCRB data

Residents give credit to good governance & security systems


September 29, 2021

/ By / New Delhi

Kolkata remains safest Indian city: NCRB data

Kolkata recorded the lowest rate of cognisable offences says NCRB 2020 report (MIG Photos)

Though crime rate increased in many metropolitan cities in India, in 2020, as per the National Crime Records Bureau, better policing and governance has led to a significant fall, notably in Kolkata, the safest metropolis in India.

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For the third year running, West Bengal capital Kolkata retains its top spot in the ranking of safest large Indian cities as per the latest report released by the National Crime Records Bureau. The NCRB report, covered 19 cities across India, each with a population of over two million, and found that Telangana capital Hyderabad stood at second place, followed by Mumbai and Bengaluru.

Also known as City of Joy, Kolkata has a mesmerising blend of elegant, graceful gardens, architecture, temples and monuments. It is also known as the cultural capital of India with a rich literature, dance and theatre ecosystem. Famous for its traditional sweets, Kolkata holds a perfect contrast of old world and the modern world. In addition to these, the city also has been repeatedly earning the distinction of being the safest Indian city.

The NCRB says that in 2020, Kolkata recorded the lowest rate of cognisable offences, with about 129.5 such crimes recorded for every 100,000 persons. In sharp contrast, Tamil Nadu capital Chennai, noted as the most violent Indian city, registered 1936.2 crimes per 100,000 persons, almost 15 times more crimes than in Kolkata.

The residents of Kolkata acknowledge the safety that their city offers them. “Kolkata is one of the safest metropolitan areas to live in because of cultural background. The city has historically been associated with progressive ideals and equal values for every individual,” Ankit Singh, a 28-year-old IT professional from Kolkata, tells Media India Group.

Not just overall crimes, but Kolkata also retained its top spot as the safest city in Indian for women. Compared to the other metropolitan cities, the crime rate against women in Kolkata is also much lower and stands at 29.5 crimes against women for every 100,000 persons. Here Uttar Pradesh capital Lucknow comes on top of the hall of shame with 190.7 crimes against women.

Singh says that the crimes against women are lower in Kolkata than in other part of India as here women are almost equal in numbers in the workforce and there is no discrimination on the basis of economic, religious, gender or ethnic backgrounds generally. It makes for a strong air of communal harmony and peaceful coexistence amidst the city’s vibrant artistic culture.

Singh and other residents also give due credit to the government for making and keeping the city safe. They also credit effective policing by the city police in making Kolkata the safest city.

“It is all because of the state government and they are taking steps to curb crime rates. Now it is our responsibility to follow the rules and uphold this position of being the safest metropolitan city in future also,” Panchanand Shaw, an advocate based in Kolkata, tells Media India Group.

Ajeet Singh, a teacher in Kolkata, agrees with Shaw. “Kolkata is one of the safest cities in India to reside in. The main reason behind this is good governance. With the upgradation in infrastructure and better vigilance such as night patrolling, check points and speed cameras, the rate of crime has gone down considerably. The active participation of the cyber cell has also played a major role in prevention of crimes,” he tells Media India Group.

Not only has Kolkata Police kept the city safe as compared to other cities, but even compared to crimes in Kolkata in previous year, the eastern metro has become increasingly safer. Kolkata registered only 53 murders and 121 cases of attempt to murder in 2020, compared with 55 and 143 respectively reported in 2018.

But property crimes seem to have grown in Kolkata last year which some blame on the economic misery wrought by the pandemic. Shaw says that as criminal lawyer, he has been handling more such cases. “Robbery and domestic violence are the major issues and both have increased during the pandemic more. We are dealing with many such cases,” he says.

In overall crime rate, Kolkata has fared much better than other metros of the country. While Chennai has the overall crime rate and stands at the bottom.

Cognisable crime capital: Chennai

Like Kolkata, the southern metropolis of Chennai is also rich in culture and deep-rooted traditions as well as heritage and temples. However, unlike the West Bengal capital, Chennai has the highest crime rate amongst all large Indian cities, with 1937.1 cognisable offences per 100,000 persons, though crimes against women have been declining at the same time. While the city recorded 761 in 2018, by 2020, they had fallen to 576.

Chennai has the highest crime rate amongst all large Indian cities, with 1937.1 cognisable offences per 100,000 persons (MIG photos)

But residents of Chennai say other cities may have seemingly done better on paper as they failed to register all crimes. “As the data is submitted by the state, they can’t reach a conclusion to name a city as unsafe or safe. It is the governments’ responsibility to maintain a proper data. There are hundreds of crimes they fail to report in every state,” says K Subburanga Bharathi, an advocate in Chennai.

“There are many people who have migrated from different places for many reasons and it is the government’s responsibility to have a proper proof and details about the migrating persons. Then the person will have a fear that they can be caught at any time, if even they migrate to other place. At the same time all the crimes will be reduced drastically and the punishment should be rigorously,” Bharathi tells Media India Group.

He says that it is not a question of having harsher laws as India has the necessary laws to punish the criminals and that people would be deterred if criminals were punished severely.

However, criminals still get away relatively easily after committing crimes. For instance, last week a 20-year-old girl was stabbed to death by a man outside the busy Tambaram railway station in Chennai in broad daylight. Unfortunately, not only did no one intervene to help the victim and the alleged killer also attempted to take his own life after he had killed her.

Even though crimes against women in Chennai have declined over the past three years, women here say they still feel unsafe and vulnerable. “Recently, while I was travelling in the train without any co-passengers, I felt very uncomfortable and unsafe. There are many crimes against girls like sexual harassment or molestation while they travel in public transport, but these acts are not reported. Now being in Chennai is more unsafe than before, if the situation continues then Chennai would be an unsafe city for women too,” Santhiya, a physician assistant working in a hospital in Chennai, tells Media India Group.

She goes on to add that the government has initiated some steps like installation of many more CCTV surveillance cameras as well as toll-free calls and apps to boost safety and security, but says that there is a lack of awareness about these and the information is not properly reaching everyone.

Delhi: Most unsafe city for women

On the other hand, national capital Delhi has also long been the most unsafe city for women, with most crimes committed against them. Delhi also holds top spot with highest number of violent crimes amongst all metropolitan cities. Delhi registered 245,844 cases under different sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at the rate of 150.6 per 100,000 population of the city.

Delhi registered 245,844 cases under different sections of IPC at the rate of 150.6 per 100,000 population of the city (MIG photos)

Once again, residents blame migrants for the high crime rates. “Migration over here is the major problem for the increased crime rate. People escapes from one state to another after committing a crime. It is the authorities’ responsibility to maintain a proper data of migrating people,” says Shakeel Husain, an advocate from Delhi.

Husain says that to protect women from crimes, they must be properly equipped to deal with offenders. “To stop such activities, the education system must provide self-defense class to girls as an important subject and it’s a basic course for everyone. It will definitely help everyone get out from the difficult situation and to upgrade in everything by having proper education,” Husain tells Media India Group.

He says that Delhi police is totally preoccupied with providing security to the thousands of VIPs who live or visit here. Hussain also blames poor policing for the current situation in the capital. “Lack of police reforms in Delhi is also the major problem and the government doesn’t even strictly follow the laws to provide security to its citizens. Because of not having strict laws the crimes are increasing in parallel from each dimension women are mostly affected from child abuse, domestic violence, rape, sexual harassments and many such acts against them,” explains Husain.

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