Crime in Delhi increased for the third straight year and three out of every four cases registered in 2016 went unsolved, official data released on Monday showed.
The numbers, released by Delhi Police as part of an annual disclosure, cement the national capital’s reputation of being a dangerous city — particularly for women who made a distress-call to helplines every 9 minutes on an average.
Of the 2,09,519 cases reported last year, 1,53,562 cases — or 73.29% of them — could not be cracked. In 2015, the proportion of cases that were unsolved was 72.78%.
Allegations of crimes against women — a molestation complaint every two hours, a rape case every four hours — remained staggeringly high. But rape cases were fewer in 2016 compared to the year before when 2,199 cases were registered. Last year, 2,155 rape cases were filed.
“In the last three-four years, the proactive action by the police has led to a positive demonstration effect. Each complaint given by a woman is being immediately registered and seriously investigated. This is the reason why the numbers appear constant,” joint commissioner of police, Dependra Pathak said.
Most of the cases that remained unsolved were street crimes — robberies, snatching, pick-pocketing and similar thefts. These incidents are more widespread, affecting most citizens.
Every six minutes, someone becomes a victim of theft. There was a case of snatching reported every 30 minutes on an average.
“It is very important for the police to instil faith in people by working hard to solve such cases. More than solving of these cases, it is important how police develops relationship with the person who has lodged the case. How they behave with the complainant make a lot of difference,” criminal psychologist Rajat Mitra said.
Former Delhi police commissioner Ajai Raj Sharma explained that less heinous crimes are often neglected by police teams. “Firstly, there are no eyewitnesses in such cases and hence the investigation is very time consuming. The only way to solve them is to study the crime scene in detail and gather clues.”
Police, Sharma added, gave precedence to law and order duties over solving street crime cases. “There is already shortage of staff and investigators, on top of that police personnel are engaged in security and law and order duties. If an investigator is deployed for a VIP movement, when will he investigate the case? Law and order should be separate from the police unit investigating cases,” Sharma said.