Crime scene
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Why did Tamil Nadu's crime rate shoot up by 400% in 2020?

Tamil Nadu’s crime graph has risen by 430 per cent in 2020, shows the latest National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data. The number of cases filed in the state under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was 8.91 lakh in 2020, compared to 1.68 lakh cases in 2019. Tamil Nadu tops the list of states with most crimes during the pandemic year.

The all-India crime scenario isn’t very pleasing. During the same period, the number of IPC cases in the country increased by 1,176 per cent. There are a few exceptions, like Kerala and Bihar, where the crime rate has actually gone down.

It may, however, be noted that a majority of these cases were registered for violating COVID-19 norms. The NCRB report stated: “Major increase in number of IPC cases filed was seen in the cases registered under disobedience to order duly promulgated by Public Servant (Section 188 IPC) from 29,469 cases in 2019, to 6,12,179 cases in 2020 and under Other IPC Crimes from 2,52,268 cases in 2019 to 10,62,399 cases in 2020.”

The NCRB concluded that “traditional crimes like theft, murder, rape etc. have gone down by about two lakh across the country”.

Also read: Traditional crimes drop in 2020, disobedience cases shoot up: NCRB

The country was under complete lockdown from March 25 to May 31, 2020, due to the first wave of COVID-19 pandemic, during which time movement in public space was very limited.

Crimes against women, children and senior citizens, theft, burglary, robbery and dacoity have therefore declined, whereas COVID-related enforcement has resulted in increase of cases registered under disobedience to order duly promulgated by Public Servant (Section 188 of IPC), under Other IPC Crimes, and under Other State Local Acts.

In Tamil Nadu, especially in cities like Chennai, Coimbatore, and other major cities, police refused to allow anyone without proper papers to roam around during the lockdown. Those who violated the lockdown rules were fined and cases were filed.

“Policemen were on roads from April to June last year. Those who came out without proper papers were detained and their vehicles were seized. This is the main reason for a substantial rise in cases being filed under IPC in Tamil Nadu,” said a senior police official.

Tamil Nadu, however, also registered 28 per cent rise in the number of rape cases in children in 2020. On the positive side, chargesheet was filed in 91.7 per cent cases, the third highest in this category after Gujarat (97 per cent) and Kerala (95 per cent).

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