New Delhi: Between 1 April to 15 April, when India continued to be in lockdown, the Delhi Police received 21 reports of rape.
Deserted roads and markets, empty offices while everyone stays indoors — this has been the country for the past three weeks due to the lockdown. Yet, in this time, crimes such as burglaries, vehicle thefts and even murders were reported.
However, data for the first 15 days of April show that miscreants have been at work at a much lower incidence when compared to the corresponding time last year.
‘Old’ cases surface
The Delhi Police claimed that most of the rape cases were old and the FIRs were being filed only now, but some of the cases were of domestic rapes reported from the jhuggi clusters.
“Most of these rapes did not occur during the lockdown. These are old cases, some of them also include cases in which women have alleged rape by live-in partners,” said a senior police officer.
“In some cases, it was rape by known persons including uncles, friends and neighbours. We are analysing this data,” the officer said.
Besides these, 31 cases of molestation were also recorded in the last two weeks.
In 2019, at this time, 93 rapes and 133 cases of molestation were reported from the capital.
“In some instances, it was reported that the woman was molested on a deserted road,” the officer said.
Senior officers have now instructed all districts to be extra vigilant and carry out regular patrolling in their respective areas.
“Although there is regular patrolling of the local police in all districts to ensure that the lockdown is enforced, we are being extra cautious to see that no woman, who may be out on the street, feels threatened while walking on a deserted road,” the senior police officer said.
Also read: Separated & restless, Delhi’s lockdown violators being kept in shelters just want to go home
Numbers are much lower
As many as 344 cases of motor vehicle theft, 21 cases of kidnapping, 1,914 thefts and 68 snatchings were also reported from across Delhi’s districts.
Police data accessed by ThePrint shows that there were even four murders.
According to a source in the Delhi Police, the incidents of car thefts spiked after the lockdown was enforced as most people remained indoors and private security guards were off duty.
This may be because “most people are now indoors and roads are deserted”, said the source. “Even most guards have gone back home, and so there is no one to keep a check, because of which these cases are being reported,” the source added.
The overall incidence of crime, though, is much lower when compared to April 2019, another senior police officer said, attributing it the nationwide lockdown.
“When compared with figures of crime reported in the same month last year, the numbers are much lower. There are no extortion complaints, (and) the number of murders have significantly dropped,” the senior police officer said.
At this time last year, there had been 84 cases of robbery, eight cases of extortion, 19 cases of murder, 321 cases of snatching, 124 cases of burglaries, 1,816 cases of motor vehicle theft, 115 house thefts and 236 kidnappings reported.
Robbers, burglars at work too
The fear of contracting Covid-19 didn’t keep all burglars and robbers from breaking the law.
Delhi Police registered 33 cases of house thefts, 32 cases of robbery and 37 cases of burglary in April upto the fifteenth.
“Apart from thefts inside home that usually happen late at night, in many cases, men broke in even during the day. These were mostly apartments that were locked. Since there is a lockdown, people who may have left their homes at that time have not been able to return. And so, they are locked and unattended,” said the second senior police officer.
“For these cases, we either received a PCR call from the neighbours or security staff,” he added.
Apart from these, 43 accidents (simple and fatal) were reported, according to the statistics.
One case of rioting was also reported.