Mumbai crime rate drops 40% in twenty years

This is one open secret that police officers in the city refuse to acknowledge till date. They try to maintain the number of criminal complaints filed at their respective police stations constant every year. The crime figures released by the police department confirms this anomaly that raises serious questions of effective policing in the city.

Figures show that the number of criminal complaints that were filed over the last two decades at various police stations in the city have actually dropped. The number of complaints filed have come down from 373 per lakh population in 1984 to 223 per lakh last year. Twenty years ago, 35,802 cognisable complaints were filed at various police stations across the city, while last year saw only 30,197 complaints being filed at various stations across the city.

This decrease in the number of complaints occurred when the population of the city increased by over 60% in the last 20 years. “This once again confirms the kind of harassment the ordinary citizens have to go through while filing a first information report (FIR). In many case, the police refuse to register complaints and the accused goes scot-free,’’ RTI activist Shailesh Gandhi who filed an RTI query on the issue said.

Former police officers who were in charge ofX various zones in the city said that it is not logically possible for the number of criminal complaints to come down when the city’s population has exploded in the last 25 years or so.

“It is a known fact that if an FIR is registered, the policeman will have to investigate the case. Under the law, a copy of the FIR has to be send to the magistrate and a charge-sheet has to be filed within a given time period. This requires lot of effort and sincerity from the part of the police,’’ former IPS officer, Sanjay Pandey said.

Pandey said these crime figures are discussed with all seriousness in the police meetings and and police stations which tops in the list of complaints are marked. “This is also yet another reason for police inspectors for not registering an FIR as they do not want thier station be projected in the bad light,’’ he said. The senior police officers, according to him, should look at the area where the police station is situated and the types of FIRs filed instead of just looking at the figures.

Pandey said the police stations across the country are reluctant to file an FIR. “Even I encountered this problem at a local police station in Tamil Nadu when I had to file a cheating case,’’he said.

Former IPS officer-turned-lawyer Y P Singh said it’s hard to believe that the actual number of crimes have reduced. ‘‘The attitude of police force has not changed a bit in the last 25 years. It has become worse.’’

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