Mumbai Police’s annual crime records for 2013 paint a grim picture, showing an increase from the previous year in serious crimes such as rape and extortion, along with a rise in property offences such as robbery, dacoity, theft and house break-ins. Even petty crimes like pickpocketing and chain snatching increased in 2013, with the number of chain snatching cases almost thrice the figure for 2012.
The records accessed by Newsline reveal that there was an overall increase of 4,406 criminal cases registered across police stations in the city in 2013. While the total number of criminal cases recorded was 30,036 in 2012, the tally rose to 34,442 in 2013.
There was a 68 per cent rise in rape cases in 2013, increasing from 231 in 2012 to 338 last year. According to data from the National Crime Records Bureau, incidents of rape reported in Mumbai in 2012 were second only to Delhi. The two cities together accounted for 817 of the total rapes in the country in 2012, approximately five times the combined total of Chennai and Kolkata.
“After many awareness programmes, more women victims of sexual crimes have started approaching the police. Even the police officers have been sensitised after the Delhi gangrape in 2012 and the Shakti Mills gangrape in August last year. We have taken action against eve-teasers and molesters on complaints from witnesses,” said Mahesh Patil, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Social Service Branch), who began the Mahila Dakshta Samiti initiative for counselling victims of sexual harassment when posted as DCP zone 11.
Extortion cases, an indicator of underworld activity in the city, also increased by 29 per cent in 2013. While there were 231 cases registered in 2012, the number rose to 338 last year.
With gold prices rising, chain snatchings have become one of the most dangerous and frequent crimes in the city. Robberies involving chain snatching increased by 186 per cent last year, rising from 727 in 2012 to 2,078 cases in 2013. Chain snatchings, which were earlier registered as theft cases, now fall under the category of robberies. In some cases, the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) has also been applied against chain-snatchers. “Chain snatchings are a major concern for the police this year and we are working on it,” said Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Himanshu Roy.
Of the five police regions in the city, the Central and the North region had maximum cases with 589 cases in areas from Matunga to Sion and 571 in areas from Jogeshwari to Borivali. Police officers said most of the chain snatchings took place between 6 am and 9 am, when people ventured out for walks, were headed to temples or were on their way to office.
Other robberies also rose sharply, from 399 cases in 2012 to 679 cases in 2013. While 29 cases of dacoity were registered in 2012, the number rose to 41 in 2013. House break-ins went up from 2,479 cases in 2012 to 2,925 last year, while thefts rose from 5,366 cases to 6,554.
“We have taken many steps in detecting robbery cases. There have also been many cases where robbers and chain snatchers have been caught red-handed,” said DCP (Detection) Ambadas Pote.
Police officers attributed the increase in criminal cases in 2013 to the willingness of police stations to register FIRs. “Earlier, many complainants were turned back. However, now we have instructed all police stations to register FIRs, especially if a woman approaches the police in sexual harassment and molestation cases,” said Pote.
According to police statistics, the detection rate of cases in 2013 was just 57 per cent of the number of cases registered. Of the 34,442 cases registered, only 19,746 cases were detected. In 2012, of 30,036 cases registered, only 16,713 were detected. “Only when crimes will be registered will they be detected. The detection rate in 2013 has come up compared to 2012, when it was 56 per cent. Crimes like motor vehicle theft have come down as we had made a special squad to tackle the problem,” said Roy.
Murders and motor vehicle thefts were among the few crimes that showed a dip in 2013, reducing by 20.5 per cent and 7 per cent respectively. However, attempt to murder cases rose from 168 cases in 2012 to 187 in 2013.