Crime, Government of India, India, NCRB

Part 2: Does NCRB crime data present an accurate picture of crime on ground? 


In part 2 of this series, we look at various categories of violent crime and crime against women to understand the large variance in certain states. This is to explore if NCRB data presents an accurate picture of the crime on ground?


In the first part of this series,  we explored the overall state of the crimes across the different states in India. Apart from numbers at a higher level, we also tried to drill down further and understand the data based on the classification of the crimes reported with a focus on the state of violent crimes committed across the different states/UTs in India.

In this story, we look at further break down of the different types of crimes under violent crimes, and also look into other crimes being committed which might not necessarily get reported and hence be a part of the NCRB data. In other words, we also look into crime reporting in India and the scope of inconsistencies in the same.

Kidnapping & Abduction along with Grievous Hurt and Rioting account for bulk of the Violent Crimes

NCRB’s CII (Crime in India) report -2017, states that a total of 4,26,825 cases were recorded as violent crimes in 2017. The report further segregates the violent crimes under 15 different heads as per different sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

95,893 cases were recorded under the head ‘Kidnapping and Abduction’ under IPC sections 363-369. Crimes under the head ‘Grievous hurt’ have the second highest cases of recorded crimes across the country with 93,316 cases.

58,880 cases were reported under Rioting (IPC Sections 147-151 & I53 A), with a caveat that all the rioting cases were included irrespective of whether they resulted in any injuries or body harm. Earlier, Factly did a story in respect to riots and communal incidents in India.

51,621 cases of ‘Attempt to Commit Murder’ and 28,653 cases of ‘Murder’ were recorded across the states/UTs in 2017. NCRB data also shows that there were 32,559 cases of rape.

Violent crimes_Number of Violent crimes by type

Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal with highest incidence of top four Violent crimes

As noted earlier, the head ‘Kidnapping and Abduction’ has the highest number of recorded crimes under violent crimes. Uttar Pradesh is the state with the highest number of crimes under this head with 19,921 recorded cases. Maharashtra recorded 10,324 cases while Bihar recorded 8,479 cases of ‘Kidnapping and Abduction’.

While these three states are among the states with the highest population, Delhi and Assam which have relatively lower total population, also recorded a high number of crimes under this head with 6,095 and 7,857 recorded cases respectively.

West Bengal recorded the highest number of crimes under the head ‘grievous hurt’ with 21,828 cases followed by Bihar and Uttar Pradesh with 12,867 and 11,508 cases respectively. Assam recorded a significantly higher number of cases compared to the size of its population with 10,397 cases even under this head.

Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra top the list of states with the highest number of crimes reported under the head ‘Rioting’.

Bihar recorded a high number of crimes even for ‘Attempt to commit murder’ with 9,585 cases. Uttar Pradesh has comparatively lower number of cases under this category with 4,939. West Bengal tops the list with 11,710 cases of ‘Attempt to commit murder’ recorded in 2017 as per NCRB data.

Kerala and Tamil Nadu which are among the states with the overall highest number of recorded crimes have significantly lesser numbers in these top 4 heads for violent crimes. Especially, Kerala has lesser number of crimes recorded with the exception of Rioting.  

Violent crimes_Top 4 heads under Violent crimes by state

UP has a higher incidence recorded crimes under Murder, Rape and Robbery

Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and West Bengal also lead in the yet another head of violent crimes i.e. ‘Murder’.  A total of 4,324 murder cases in UP and 2,803 & 2,001 in Bihar and West Bengal respectively were recorded in 2017.  On the other hand, Kerala has only 305 recorded murder cases with Delhi being the other state with lesser number of cases for murder.

Madhya Pradesh, UP and Rajasthan have a higher incidence of rape cases recorded for the year 2017. Kerala recorded 2003 cases of rape, which is higher compared to the other heads under violent crimes. Assam, Delhi and Haryana have higher cases registered under this category from an overall population perspective. Bihar and West Bengal which are among the leading states for most of the violent crimes have  fewer number of recorded rape cases with 605 and 1,084 cases respectively.

‘Robbery’ accounted for 7th highest number of cases recorded under violent crimes. Nearly 1/5th of the total cases under this head are from Maharashtra with 6,451 cases, followed by UP and Delhi. West Bengal recorded only 369 robbery cases compared to its numbers under other heads of violent crimes.

Violent crimes_Other heads under Violent crimes by state

More cases of Crime against Women recorded in Assam and Delhi while Bihar records relatively fewer such cases

Rape is one of the prominent violent crimes recorded in the NCRB data. In addition to the data on cases of rape, NCRB’s CII report-2017, furnishes data relating to the various crimes committed against women. The data included crimes committed under different sections of IPC and various SLLs. Few of the categories of crimes committed against woman includes – Rape, Murder with Rape, Dowry deaths, Acid Attacks, Cruelty by Husband/his relatives, Kidnapping and abduction of women, Insult to modest of Women etc.

Uttar Pradesh has the highest number of recorded cases of crime against women with 56,011 cases. Maharashtra and West Bengal rank second and third followed by Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Bihar, which as noted earlier was leading in most of the violent crimes has comparatively fewer number of recorded crimes against women with 14,711 cases.

Violent crimes_Number of crimes against women by state

Assam recorded comparatively a greater number of recorded crimes against women with 23,082 cases. This is more evident when the rate of crime is considered. Rate of incidence of crime here is defined as number of cases per 1,00,000 women. The population is considered by extrapolating 2001 census data of women population to mid 2017. Assam has the highest rate of crimes committed against women in India with 143.6 crimes per one lakh women. Delhi stands next with 133.3 while the states of Telangana and Odisha are among the states with higher rate of crimes with 94.7 and 94.5 cases per one lakh women.  Kerala which has 11,057 cases of crimes against women in 2017 recorded a rate of 60.2 cases per one lakh women.

Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Maharashtra which were the states with the highest number of cases, have a moderate rate of 53.2, 67.3 and 55 cases per one lakh women respectively. The lower reported incidence of crime against women in Bihar becomes more conspicuous with the rate being 28.8, among the lowest in the country. Nagaland records the lowest rate of crimes against women with 6.9 cases per one lakh women.

Violent crimes_Rate of crimes against women

Bihar and U.P have lower rates of reported crimes against women.

NCRB’s CII-2017 report segregates the crimes against women into different categories. This offers more insights into the numbers relating each of the specific crimes.

It was already observed that in the case of Uttar Pradesh, even though the number of recorded crimes against women is the highest, the rate of crime is moderate. When the rate of crime is further broken down into the various heads, we could see the rate of cases in respect to Rape is 4 per one lakh women, attempt to commit rape as 0.6 and abetment to suicide as 0.3 per one lakh women. On the other hand, the rate of Dowry deaths, cruelty by Husband/relatives, kidnapping etc. have higher rates compared to other states.

Bihar also has a similar trend where in rate of dowry deaths and Kidnapping are among the highest in the country, while it is among the lowest for other categories.

Assam has higher rates of crime against women in most of the categories, esp. with a very high rate of crimes reported under ‘cruelty by husband or his relatives’.

States like Kerala, Tamil Nadu do not have much variance in comparison to their standing among other states across the different categories of crime against women.

Odisha has a significantly higher rate under ‘assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty’ with 42.9 cases per lakh women.

The two Telugu states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have higher rates under ‘abetment to suicide’ and  ‘cruelty by husband or his relatives’ compared to most other states.

Violent crimes_Rate of crimes against women by Heads

Huge variance in the way different types of crimes are reported across various states.

In our earlier stories regarding NCRB data, we have highlighted the issues with the data provided by NCRB. One of the key limitations is that these numbers are dependent on FIRs being filed or only police recorded crimes. There could be instances, like in case of communal riots data wherein, when  alternate data is available and compared the NCRB’s CII report does not account for all the incidents.

This leads to apprehensions on a crime being reported and FIR being filed , in-spite of an advisory from Ministry of Home affairs (MHA) to register all complaints without discrimination. A study conducted by TISS (Tata Institute of Social Sciences) and sponsored by Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD) of the Government of India, titled ‘A Study on Non-Registration of Crimes: Problems & Solutions’ , throws some light on the problems in reporting and registration of a crime. This study was a qualitative and quantitative study with data being collected from six states across the country.

The report identified the following as potential reasons for under reporting of crime.

  1. Lack of adequate man power and heavy work load in police stations
  2. Police behaviour towards complainants i.e. marginalised communities, women etc
  3. Inadequacy of resources for police
  4. Management of crime statistics by police functionaries has linkages with performance appraisals.
  5. Interface of political/media/NGOs and other influential persons in the process of registration of crime
  6. Long-time taken to register a complaint ad legal action

The NCRB’s crime statistics show a correlation with these problems identified in under reporting. For example, in Bihar and UP, the cases resulting in death (dowry) and abduction have higher rates while cases like assault on women, attempt to commit rape or rape etc. have comparatively lesser rates. This could mean that crimes which cannot be hidden(murder/death) or which has other party complaining (abduction) result in FIRs being filed but cases which can be influenced, or which have a stigma attached like attempt to rape etc. are being under reported. Even in cases relating to rape, the occurrence of rape has better reporting compared to an attempt to rape.

It is also observed that in the case of states with better development indices like Kerala, there is less variance in their standing among the states for various categories of crime. These observations are not uniform and there could be many other factors which influence the reporting of a crime across different states. Only a thorough study to identify such problems and implementation of remedial measures could result in better crime data for India.

Featured Image: Violent Crimes in India


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