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Dwaipayan Ghosh, TNN | Mar 30, 2013, 12.30AM IST
NEW DELHI: After Nirbhaya's barbaric rape in December last year, thousands of determined Delhiites had taken to the streets demanding a safer city. Barely four months later, Delhi is probably more unsafe than it has been in a long while. According to police statistics, most kinds of crime have risen sharply in the city since January 1 this year.
Delhi Police figures, from January 1 to March 24 this year, make worrying reading when compared to the same period last year. Almost every crime head, barring murder, has seen a spike, with complaints of rape and molestation rising several fold (see graph).
While the spurt in crimes against women can be partly put down to better reporting and registration of complaints post Nirbhaya, other offences such as kidnapping (up 53%), robbery (65%) and snatchings (73%) give a clearer picture of the crime wave in the capital. This after the city had seen a drop in crime in 2011 and 2012.
Clearly on the back foot, senior officials partially attributed the jump in crime to more transparency in the police in registering complaints. "We do not believe in brushing crimes under the carpet. Neither do we believe in brushing aside complaints. Our priority has been to lodge complaints — often for harsher charges that are legally possible — so that criminals do not receive bail," an officer said.
"The rise in rape and molestation cases is clearly due to much wider reporting by the victims. We are taking each complaint seriously and immediately lodging an FIR," he said.
Officials also pointed to the positive aspects of the statistics. For the most heinous crimes such as dacoity and kidnapping, cops have had close to 100% success in nabbing the criminals, they said.
Another reason for violence was a growing gun culture in the city, they said. "We have seized 181 illegal arms since January 1 this year. This shows that every petty criminal in the city has access to guns. We have now tapped at the source to stop this flow of weapons," said an officer, adding that many wanted criminals like Manoj Morkheri had been arrested in the past three months.
"We have concentrated on cracking organized gangs active in outer and southwest Delhi. The results are already visible as murders cases have come down," said a senior crime branch officer.
Among measures to boost the morale of the police force, top cops are in talks with the Union home ministry to bring in a system of time-bound promotion of the lower-level staff — such as from constable to sub-inspectors.
Officials also said terror modules were being busted in the city at regular intervals to keep Delhi safe from attacks.
"We can't really go by the numbers. It is what you see on the ground, the amount of work put in by the police force. Crime per lakh population figures would give a more accurate assessment of crime in the city. The citizens of Delhi will rate the police on these parameters," an officer said.