Crime, Government of India, India, NCRB

Part 1: What does the NCRB report tell us about the State of Crime in India?


The NCRB report is the primary source of state level crime data. In a two-part series, we take a deeper look at the numbers from the NCRB’s 2017 Crime in India report to understand the real picture.

National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB)’s annual Crime in India (CII) report not only provides numbers with respect to various crimes at a national level, but also provides these statistics at the state level. In fact, the numbers reported in this report are a consolidation of the data received from the States and UTs. A closer look at the various crimes reported at state-level would help in understanding the state of affairs and trends.

Here is an analysis of the numbers from the Crime in India Report-2017  about the state of crimes across different states & UTs of India.

Kerala has the highest number of reported crimes followed by Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra

For the year 2017, Kerala reported a total of 6,53,500 cognizable crimes, which is the highest among Indian States/UTs. Uttar Pradesh ranks second with 6,00,082 reported crimes. Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh make up the top-5 in terms of states that reported the greatest number of cognizable crimes. It has to be noted that these numbers include crimes committed as per the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and other Special Acts & Local Laws (SLL).

Even in the year 2016, Kerala recorded the highest number of cognizable crimes 7,07,870 followed by Uttar Pradesh with 4,94,025 cases and Tamil Nadu with 4,67,369.

Crime in India_Total crimes by State UT 2017

Reported Crime Rate is highest in Delhi, followed by Kerala.

Crime rate measures the incidence of crime per one lakh of population. The NCRB report uses the population estimates for 2017 on the basis of 2001 Census for this calculation.

Among the States/UTs in India, Delhi has the highest crime rate as per NCRB data with 1050 reported instances of crime per one lakh population. Kerala, which has the highest number of crimes reported, has the second highest crime rate with 656 in 2017. Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana complete the list of top 5 states with the highest reported crime rate in India. However, the crime rates in these states is significantly lower than that of Delhi and Kerala. In general, lower population and the higher number of recorded crimes contribute towards a higher crime rate in these two states of Delhi & Kerala.

Conversely, Uttar Pradesh, which has the second highest number of recorded crimes in 2017, stands among the states with one of lower recorded crime rate with 139. Among the states Nagaland has the least recorded crime rate with only 44 crimes per one lakh population.

Crime in India_State wise crime rates in INdia

Majority of the crimes are reported are under SLL (Special and Local Laws) in Kerala

While Kerala has the highest reported cases, it does not rank first when it comes to cases booked under the IPC (Indian Penal Code). Nearly 64% of the cases registered i.e. 4,17,654 in Kerala in 2017 are under SLL (Special and Local Laws).

As per the Criminal Procedure Code, crimes are classified into Cognizable and Non-Cognizable Crimes. Cognizable crimes are those which do not require an order from magistrate, and which requires the police to take immediate action on receipt of complaint or information. These cognizable crimes either fall under Indian Penal Code(IPC) like Crime against body, crime against property, sexual offences etc. or under Special and Local Laws (SLL) like Arms Act, 1959; Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961; Information Technology Act 2000 etc.

Uttar Pradesh (UP) has the highest number of cases recorded under IPC for the year 2017 with 3,10,084 cases which make up nearly 52% of the total cases registered in UP.  Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh are next in line in terms of the highest number of cases under IPC with 2,88,879 and 2,68,512 respectively, followed by Kerala.  Both Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh have a large proportion of the cases registered under IPC with 62% and 76% respectively unlike in Kerala where 64% of the cases were registered under SLL.

Other states which have a larger share of crimes under IPC out of the total registered crimes include Delhi (95%), Assam (95%), Telangana (89%), Andhra Pradesh (89%), West Bengal (83%), Odisha (80%), Karnataka (79%), Bihar (76%) etc.

As noted before, Kerala has the highest number of cases booked under SLL with 4,17,654 cases. Tamil Nadu with 57.5%, Gujarat with 61.5% and Haryana with 56% are the other states which have a higher proportion of total cases registered under SLL.

Uttar Pradesh, Bihar & West Bengal among the states with the highest recorded incidents of Violent Crimes in 2017

Apart from the overall data of the crimes in India, NCRB data provides further details in respect to the types of crimes committed. Violent crimes are a key category in view of the grave nature of such crimes as well as the prominence accorded to them in news reporting and the impression on the public memory.

As per NCRB Data, Violent Crimes include crimes such as – Murder, Culpable Homicide not amounting to murder, Dowry Deaths, Attempt to Commit Murder, Grievous Hurt, Rape, Rioting etc.

Uttar Pradesh has reported the highest number of violent crimes in 2017 with 64,450. Bihar has the next highest number of recorded violent crimes with 50,700 followed by West Bengal with 48,609.  Maharashtra has a total of 40,010 recorded violent crimes in 2017.

Assam and Madhya Pradesh are other states which have a high number of violent crimes recorded with 25,875 and 27.591 respectively.  Kerala which has the highest number of recorded crimes reported 13,315 violent crimes i.e. 2% of the total crimes recorded in the state.

If one counts the proportion of violent crimes of the total number of reported crimes in a state, nearly 25% of the crimes recorded in West Bengal are violent crimes. Bihar with 21.5% and Assam with 23.5% are the other states which not only have a high volume of violent crimes but also a higher proportion of violent crimes. Violent crimes in Uttar Pradesh, while being the highest in country constitute around 11% of the total crimes committed in the state.

Tamil Nadu, which has the fourth highest number of total crimes, reported 10,358 crimes under the category of violent crimes which constitutes approximately 2.5% of the total crimes in the states.

Gujarat, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana & Madhya Pradesh are among the other states which have a higher number of overall recorded crimes but a lesser proportion of violent crimes with 3.1%, 5.5%, 5.6%, 5.7%, 5.8% and 7.3% respectively.

Crime in India_Number of violent crimes by State UT 2017

What does the NCRB Crime data tell us & not tell us?

The overall crime figures point out that states like Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra etc. which are considered to be among the more developed states in India are also among the states with higher number of crimes. On the other hand, the likes of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, known to be among the lesser developed states have relatively lesser number of crimes and a much lesser crime rate as per NCRB records.

However, as we dwell deeper into the different types of crimes, we see that the developed states have lesser crimes under IPC and much lesser number of violent crimes with states like Bihar and UP reporting a greater number of violent crimes.

This necessitates the need to explore the data further rather than being restricted to the overall number of crimes reported, to be able to understand the issue better. We have in an earlier story,  highlighted the inconsistency between the NCRB data & Home Ministry data regarding communal incidents especially in view of its dependence on crime being reported and FIRs being filed. In the second part of this series on NCRB’s CII report 2017, we explore other categories of crimes that may offer insights into and help us draw a better picture of the state of crime and crime reporting in India, beyond just the overall numbers.  

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