The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) publishes three major annual reports Crime in India, Accidental deaths and Suicides in India, and Prison Statistics of India. Every year, the NCRB makes certain changes to the kind of data released in these reports. Here is a review of the changes made in the 2021 reports.
No society is devoid of crimes. In fact, crimes have become an intrinsic part of society. Crimes do not just affect the individuals involved, instead, they have wider implications on society. Crime and society reinforce each other – the type of society influences the incidence of crime and vice versa. Studying crime is critical to exploring the conditions under which society functions and the situations under which it breaks down. Hence, understanding crime patterns, both qualitatively and quantitatively, is of utmost importance, for it provides important inputs for the governments to suitable adapt and adjust their resources.
Crime patterns provide us insights into the short-term and long-term changes in the incidences of crime. On this basis, assessments can be made to understand the above changes. In India, the ‘Crime in India’ (CII) report published by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), is a comprehensive source of annual crime statistics. It is a repository of all the police-recorded crime statistics in India, including the nature and type of the crime, the progress in investigations, the convictions secured, and other such parameters. Changing societal environments coupled with advancements in technology give rise to new forms of crime. Accordingly, the crime statistics and their definitions and scope must be effectively updated and expanded to incorporate the latest additions.
In this story, we look at the changes made in the CII report by NCRB in its 2021 report. Factly had earlier published similar articles on the changes in crime statistics from NCRB in 2017 & 2020. In addition, we also look at changes made in other reports by the NCRB, such as the Accidental deaths and Suicides in India (ADSI) and Prison Statistics of India (PSI).
Changes over previous publications
Crime in India (CII)
- Data related to Transgender category added wherever necessary
In the previous edition, data on crimes under the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 had been included under Special & Local Laws. Most of the data pertaining to the transgenders in the earlier editions were concentrated on this act. However, in the latest edition of 2021, the data related to transgenders have been included in the persons disposal i.e., persons arrested, persons charge sheeted, persons convicted, persons discharged, and persons acquitted.
This is important in the sense that it extends the scope of the gendered nature of the individuals involved in crimes. Major such additions could be seen in the disposal of persons arrested for crimes against women and children (arrested, charge-sheeted, and convicted) both state-wise as well as in Metropolitan cities. It is also included in the age profile of the child victims of the POCSO act (state/UT wise), Child and adult victims of Kidnapping & Abduction (Gender & Age Group‐wise) (State/UT‐wise, Metropolitan cities), Purpose of Kidnapping & Abduction (Alive Victims), Recovery of Kidnapped & Abducted Persons (Gender & Age Group‐wise) (State/UT‐wise, Metropolitan cities), and Juveniles Apprehended – IPC and SLL Crimes (Crime Head, Age Group & Gender-wise). These are some of the key areas where such expansion is done.
- In addition to this, an extra section on Seizures and Prosecution by Central Law Enforcement agencies (Chapter 20D) has been added in the latest edition.
Under the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), details of the result of searches and prosecutions under the direct taxes enactments during 2021-22 are added. Under the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs, NIA, and DRI, seizures of drugs, fake Indian/foreign currency, explosives, wildlife, etc., are included. Additionally, in CBI and NIA, seizures relating to firearms and ammunitions are also added. Under the NCB, data relating to seizures of drugs is included.
- Under chapter 20B- Seizures by State/UT police, in the previous editions, seizures of original and fake currency of both Indian and foreign currency were given while in the 2021 edition, only the seizures (original and fake) related to Indian currency are given. In the earlier editions, denomination‐wise fake Indian currency notes (FICN) seized were given, while in the latest edition, it is additionally complemented with denomination-wise original Indian currency seized.
Accidental deaths and Suicides in India (ADSI)
Families and society as a whole suffer irreparable harm when people die in accidents or by suicide. Additionally, they cause the loss of priceless productive man-years, which has an impact on the country’s economic growth. It is crucial to study the data related to accidents and suicides to conduct any relevant research and create effective intervention strategies. Such a compilation is called ADSI, and it is released yearly by the NCRB.
- In the 2020 edition, under the mode of transport–wise number of persons died in road accidents (Table 1A.3), under each mode, categorization such as private, government, or others, was made depending on the type of mode. The same data in the 2021 edition is given only in cumulative format, and no categorization is separately done.
- Under Table 1A.4, the mode of transport–wise number of persons who died in road accidents (state/UT wise), it was categorized into offenders and victims in 2020, while in 2021, the categorization is just injured and died. The latest edition leaves out the details about the offenders of the accidents.
Prison Statistics in India
The management of prisons has changed from a punitive approach to one that emphasises reformation and rehabilitation of the offenders as one of its goals to reintegrate them into society after their release as potential contributors to the economy. Prisons are a necessary component of the criminal justice system. It is crucial that the statistics in the report encompass a wide range of information on many elements of prisons.
- Under chapter 9 – Jail Breaks, escapes & clashes/group clashes in prisons, the 2021 edition gave detailed information on jailbreaks, including their incidences, the number of persons (both inmates and jail personnel) injured and killed. In the 2020 edition, no such details on the human damages of jailbreaks were mentioned.
- Similarly, in the 2020 report, the incidence of deaths and injuries in clashes/group clashes in jails during the year was mentioned. In 2021, this was further done for two kinds of clashes/group clashes- with the use of firearms, and without the use of firearms.
- Under chapter 10- Rehabilitation and welfare of prisoners, in 2020, the data on the number of complaints received by various commissions and their disposals was given to National Human Rights Commission and State Human Rights Commission. In 2021, this was expanded to include SC/ST Commission, OBC Commission, and any other such Commissions.