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Delhi-NCR: National Crime Region

Crime cases in Delhi-NCR have been going up over the years. DNA examines how an acute shortage of police personnel has made people’s live unsafe

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Delhi-NCR: National Crime Region
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If crime cases in the National Capital Region (NCR) have been rising, much of it has to do with an acute shortage of police personnel, shows latest government data for the year 2017. Though Delhi and the adjoining cities of Gurugram, Noida, Faridabad and Ghaziabad exchange lists of criminals and discuss joint action plans, the results have not been encouraging.

Delhi

The Delhi police has a sanctioned strength of 86,000 cops. But 13,000 vacant posts mean there are only 73,000 personnel to protect the city’s two crore people — 3.5 cops for a population of 1,000. In 2017, Delhi saw 8,644 cases of crime against women — 2,146 rape, 3,422 molestation, 322 kidnapping and 2,754 cruelty by husband/in-laws. There were 4,381 cases of heinous crime — 487 murder, 645 attempt to murder, 36 dacoity, 3,147 robbery, 16 kidnapping and 50 rioting.   

Police officials in Delhi say one reason behind the big crime numbers is that more and more people, including women, are coming forward to register complaints. “While in other NCR cities, they are scared of approaching police… in some cases, they are made to resolve cases within families and communities,” said a senior officer.

But investigation is also a concern. A teacher at a language school was harassed and her mobile phone snatched in Delhi’s Connaught Place in December last year. The case remains unsolved. Investigators said they have spoken to the woman, questioned suspects, and that the accused’s sketches have been pasted at relevant places.

A new law for death to those who rape children below 12 came into force in India a week ago, in response to days of unspeakable brutalities and subsequent outrage across states, but cases continue to pour in the national capital. On Monday itself, a 60-year-old man was arrested on the charge of sexually assaulting a six-year-old girl living in his neighbourhood in west Delhi’s Mangolpuri. Police said the accused committed the crime after luring away the girl while she was playing outside her residence. The crime came to light when the her mother took her to a doctor after she complained of abdominal pain. Police said the accused was an alcoholic and unemployed. He committed the crime under the influence of alcohol. He earlier operated an e-rickshaw.

Cops say they are doing enough. “It is our top priority to make sure women in the city feel safe. We have started motorbike and car patrols by female cops so that women, like those at bus stands at night, have more faith and can approach us when in need. We have also improved our women’s safety app,” Delhi police PRO Madhur Verma.

Gurugram

Located 32 km southwest of Delhi, the Haryana city has seen rapid urbanisation and become a leading financial and industrial hub with the third-highest per capita income in India. It has local offices for more than 250 Fortune 500 companies. This also explains the city’s rising crime graph.

The Gurugram police has a sanctioned strength of 7,518 cops. But as many as 2,732 posts are vacant. This means there are only 4,786 cops to protect the city’s 12 lakh people — 4 for a population of 1,000. Last year, Gurugram saw 565 cases of crime against women — 136 rape, 75 molestation, 196 kidnapping and 158 cruelty by husband/in-laws. There were 896 cases of heinous crime — 107 murder, 72 attempt to murder, 17 dacoity, 99 robbery, 400 kidnapping and 201 rioting.   

“We recently conducted a workshop for female officers on gender sensitisation. They were briefed on handling cases of crime against women by following all standard procedures and taking each case with utmost sensitivity,” said a police officer.

Noida

The Noida police (inUP’s Gautam Budh Nagar district) has emerged as a hotspot for the IT and IT-enabled services industry. Many large companies have their businesses there. But policing has not improved much. The city has a sanctioned strength of 4,201 cops. But 369 positions are vacant. This means only 3,832 personnel to protect 16 lakh people — 2 for a population of 1,000. Last year, Noida saw 665 cases of crime against women — 56 rape, 181 molestation, 196 kidnapping and 232 cruelty by husband/in-laws. There were 516 cases of heinous crime — 93 murder, 114 attempt to murder, 114 dacoity, 194 robbery and one kidnapping.

A case in point: Early this month, a 16-year-old girl said she was gang-raped in a moving car in Noida by a group of three men including one of her relatives. She had missed her school bus and they offered her lift. Police registered a case and apprehended one of her classmates. However, investigators are taking her allegation with a pinch of salt. They believe the teen filed the complaint under parental pressure. No formal arrest has been made in the case.

“Noida is a hub for people especially those working with software companies. Many of them come from other parts of NCR. Also, many who work in South Delhi, South-East Delhi and East Delhi prefer living in Noida because of affordability. Our challenges are growing. Strengthening the police force is the need of the hour,” said Gautam Budh Nagar SSP Ajay Pal Sharma.  

Unlike Delhi, Noida does not have a dedicated forensics team. Cops approach their Ghaziabad counterparts for help. Many police stations do not have functional CCTV cameras and sniffer dogs. Authorities decided last week that there should be a cyber police station in the city. Police is still planning to hire fingerprint experts, 10 years after the twin murders of Aarushi Talwar and Hemraj Banjade that brought to focus one of India’s worst crime investigations.

“Our job, as police officers, is to make sure every citizen could approach us easily and register grievances. There are issues being faced by people and we have collectively decided to solve them. Regular meetings are held with RWAs to ensure we know the issues people are facing. They want policing in the interiors. We are working on it,” he said. Officers are conducting surprise checks to ensure no cop is shirking work, he said.

Faridabad

Faridabad is Haryana’s largest city and a major industrial hub. About 50 per cent of the income tax collected in Haryana is from Faridabad and Gurugram. Crime has also stalked people here in equal measure. The Faridabad police has a sanctioned strength of 5,000 cops. But 1,800 positions are vacant leaving only 3,200 cops to protect 10 lakh people — 3 for a population of 1,000. Last year, Faridabad saw 705 cases of crime against women — 134 rape, 186 molestation, 120 kidnapping and 265 cruelty by husband/in-laws. There were 572 cases of heinous crime — 80 murder, 81 attempt to murder, 120 dacoity, 48 robbery, 46 kidnapping and 197 rioting.   

A case in point: A 22-year-old BPO executive in Old Faridabad said she has been facing harassment while coming back home from work. “There is this stretch that leads to my house. A few men will always appear to block my way. They will giggle. Once, I approached a policeman. He said they must be laughing among themselves. This is horrendous,” she said.    

“We are working on an image makeover of the force. There are some cases where people do not want to involve cops, but at times, it’s the sheer fear of the entire procedure. We have asked all DCPs to regularly interact with people in their areas. Yes, the number in the force needs to increase, but we also need to manage with whatever resources we have,” said Faridabad police PRO SS Sharma.

Ghaziabad

It is sometimes referred to as the “Gateway of UP” because it is close to Delhi, on the main route into Uttar Pradesh. The shared borders also mean easy escape and refuge for criminals. Ghaziabad police has a sanctioned strength of 4,305 cops. The number of vacant posts is 120. There are only 4,185 personnel to protect 25 lakh people — 1 cop for a population of 1,000. In 2017, Ghaziabad saw 1,425 cases of crime against women — 113 rape, 281 molestation, 461 kidnapping and 570 cruelty by husband/in-laws. There were 1,109 cases of heinous crime — 116 murder, 117 attempt to murder, 4 dacoity, 101 robbery, 695 kidnapping and 76 rioting.   

A case in point: In September 2017, a 25-year-old nurse was gang-raped by two men when she was returning home from work. The crime took place in Ghaziabad’s Raj Nagar Extension. Police arrested the accused who were found to be alcoholics and habitual criminals.

Satwant Ahluwalia, a teacher who lives in Ghaziabad’s Rajnagar Extension, says police is not doing enough. “There is hardly any police presence. I often tell my 28-year-old daughter to stay at some friend’s house if she has to drive back home late in the night,” he said. In February this year, a 24-year-old married woman was murdered with an axe in broad daylight in Ghaziabad’s Vijay Nagar area by her jilted lover. He attacked her when she was out to buy medicines. Her body lay in a pool of blood on the street, leaving the entire neighbourhood horrified. The man had been harassing her, but police did not act strongly on her complaint.

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