Mumbai not only bore the brunt of the Covid epidemic it witnessed a sharp rise in crimes registered in 2021. The National Crime Records Bureau data contained in the Accidents, Deaths and Suicides in India and Crime in India reports for 2021 show 174 different types of criminal offences are registered under Indian Penal Code sections every day in Mumbai. At least 14 cases of violent crimes such as rape, kidnapping and murder are filed in the city daily.
However, the silver lining is that in terms of cases registered per lakh population-it denotes the crime rate-Mumbai ranks 11th, among urban centres behind Delhi, Jaipur, Indore, Surat, Patna and others, most of them in north India. As per the crime rate, Mumbai is placed 11th as against 15th in 2020. The report showed crime rose in Mumbai by 27% (63,689 cases) in 2021 from 50,158 in 2020 and 40,684 in 2019. However, police said rise in cases was because of violations of prohibitory orders issued during the Covid-19 lockdown.
2021, Maharashtra and Mumbai are among states and cities seeing the highest resurgence in offences recorded in the second year of Covid. Lockdown violations may have been a contributory factor. Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra are the big states which saw the highest increase in registered crimes between pre-Covid 2019 and 2021. Similarly, cities with the sharpest rise in cases between 2019 and 2021 were Chennai (154%) and Mumbai (56%). In absolute numbers though, both are far behind Delhi. State-wise, Maharashtra had the most crimes (3.67 lakh) in 2021, followed by UP (3.58 lakh). Crime rates up, but serious crime under check.
Reporting of serious crimes such as murder as well as those against women and children have dipped. But cybercrime has increased and so has forgery and cheating. Former IPS officer turned lawyer YP Singh said during the pandemic, the crime rate dipped worldwide and so was the case in India. Among crimes reported in Mumbai in 2021 were 7,820 cases of theft, 4,899 of forgery, cheating or fraud, 2,282 of rash driving, 1,590 of kidnapping or abduction, 401 of sexual harassment, 386 of death by negligence, 303 of rioting, and 162 of murder.
State wise data also showed Maharashtra topped in 2021 in filing cases of rioting with 8,709 such cases (which includes 77 cases of communal riots, 86 political, 67 caste-related). It was followed by Bihar (6,298), Uttar Pradesh (5,302), Karnataka (4,193), Tamil Nadu (2,275), Haryana (2,253), Odisha (2,220). Overall Maharashtra is placed 10th in terms of cases per lakh population, which indicates the crime rate, while Delhi tops the list (see graphic). Delhi is followed by Tamil Nadu and then Kerala. Gujarat and Haryana are in fourth and fifth places.
However, Maharashtra stands first in total crimes registered in the country with 3,67,218 cases. UP came 2nd with 3,57,905. This is despite the number of IPC cases registered in Maharashtra in 2021 dipping by 6.8% to 3,67,000 cases from 3,94,017 in 2020. While Mumbai has the highest number of cases within Maharashtra, Nagpur and Pune are placed 6th and 14th.