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Poor police response instils fear & leads to crime

India on 17 December 2015
Location : India | Source : Statesman. Image Source: Statesman

A large part of the public fear and distrust of the police is fed by little understanding of levels of crime, the police response, and the various reasons behind the perceived poor police performance, found in the study conducted Praja Foundation and Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative. 

Praja Foundation and Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) released their first report on state of policing and law and order in Delhi for the year 2014, including the record of oversight by Members of Parliament and State Security Commission. The report added much of this fear and distrust would dissipate, if there was more transparency and easy access to information. 

Addressing the gathering, Devika Prasad, coordinator of Police Reforms, CHRI, said "This paper has given us the opportunity to experiment with different methodologies on how to count and represent crime statistics." 

However, when asked if the organisation records the area where the crime was committed, Devika Prasad said, "We haven't traced the origin of the crime; the police station where the crime was registered would be taken into account." 

According to report, in the year 2014, there were 74,921 cases of theft while burglary was 10,281. There were alarming 1962 cases of rape reported in 2014, including 1818 rapes, and 144 gangrapes. There were 2,667 cases reported of assault to outrage a modesty of a woman. Other crimes like Murder (533), Kidnapping/abduction (7,186), snatching (7,170) and robbery (6,396) were also registered in high numbers. 

However, when asked that if the citizens use this report and decide to not buy a house in a neighborhood, Nitai Mehta, managing Trustee, Praja Foundation, emphasised: "We cannot say for sure whether the prices of property will be affected after publishing our crime map." and added there may be certain unintended consequences of publishing these crime maps, and it is these very consequences which improve policy." 

Maja Daruwala went on to add: "We need to initiate a dialogue between the citizens and police and once the citizens start to use this information they will start getting involved in the process of policing; Governance and crime is not something that must solely be left in a few hands." 

Another important aspect of the report was the number of questions asked by our parliamentarians on the issue of crime. A cursory glance reveals that the seven Members of Parliament of Delhi asked only 17 questions on the issues of crime in the Parliament during budget'14, winter'14 and Budget '15. 

"This shows that the issue of crime has not been raised. If people start raising the issue then we may have a change in this discourse. After all how can we make policy without information?" Daruwal said.

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