Kolkata has topped the list of cities with the least number of cognisable offences per lakh of its population, making the metropolis the safest city of India in 2021, according to the latest National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report.
The city scored 103.4 per 1-lakh people in terms of the number of cognisable offences, marching ahead of Pune, which stood second (256.8) and Hyderabad (259.9), the data showed.
Kanpur (336.5), Bengaluru (427.2) and Mumbai (428.4) were among the other cities in the list.
Kolkata had scored 129.5 in the 2020 report of NCRB. Its IPC crime rate declined to 92.6 in 2021 compared with 109.9 the previous year, as per the report.
Experts, however, expressed apprehension over Kolkata’s dwindling crime numbers in the report.
“This data seems to be quite absurd. There is clearly suppression of facts on the part of the state government,” claimed Ruby Sain, former head of the department of sociology and coordinator of the Centre for the Study of Religion and Society at Jadavpur University.
“Most criminal activities in Kolkata are going unreported, and I am quite confident the data provided by the authorities is not the actual picture,” she told media.
Emeritus Professor of Sociology, Presidency College, Prasanta Ray, also echoed Sain’s views, and said there has been “suppression of facts by the state government, leading to a glorified picture for West Bengal”.
“Criminal activities in the city go unreported for several reasons and that is a fact. If you ask me to believe in this data, I would say the migration of youths in search of work to other far-off states could be one reason. But I still have my doubts,” Ray said.
According to former Kolkata Police Joint CP (Crime) Pallab Kanti Ghosh, the “hard work” of the dedicated police personnel was instrumental in this achievement.
“The city’s crime rate has been sliding for the past seven years. We must thank our dedicated policemen for making this possible,” Ghosh said.
He also said that despite the jurisdiction of Kolkata Police being expanded following the addition of areas like Behala, Thakurpukur, Kasba and Survey Park, the infrastructure remained “unchanged”.
“Most of the crimes these days are happening in the areas that were added, but our police officers are dealing with those quite intelligently. However, we must not forget that conventional crimes have come down as criminals are going high-tech now,” Ghosh added.