The year 2020 was mostly spent tackling the coronavirus pandemic and following the lockdown norms imposed to curb the spread of the deadly virus. The lockdown, which was imposed in the third week of March last year, lasted for three months, followed by gradual unlocking. It not only helped contain COVID-19, but Mumbai’s crime rate as well, which fell 47 per cent as compared to that of 2019.
From January 1, 2020, to December 31, 2020, the city recorded a total of 51,068 cases, which included 28,793 cases of lockdown violations. In 2019, a total of 41,931 cases were registered. If the cases of lockdown violations are exempted from the overall caseload in 2020, the city’s actual crime tally is 22,275 cases, which is a drop of 47 per cent compared to 2019.
As per the latest figures released by the Mumbai Police, the decline has been recorded in almost all crime heads, including murder, crime against women, robbery, theft and so on. Only a marginal increase has been recorded in the cases of attempt to murder and that of vehicle theft.
Last year, 148 cases of murder were recorded. While, in 2019, 165 murder cases were recorded. In 2020, 614 robberies were recorded, 374 less than that of the previous year. The biggest decline was recorded in the cases of theft, which is 2,455 less than that of a year ago. In 2020, total 3,433 theft cases were registered. In 2019, the tally was 5,888.
The city has also seen decline in the cases of crimes against women. Last year, a total of 4,539 cases of crime against women were recorded. Earlier, the tally was 6,438 cases. Rape cases have reduced by 248 over the previous year. In 2019, 1,015 cases of rape were registered. In 2020, the tally was 767.
The cases registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) have seen a decline as well. In 2020, a total of 938 cases were registered under the Act. In 2019, the tally was 1,314.
The lockdown has also helped the Mumbai Police improve its detection rate, which was 10 per cent above the 69% detection rate of the year 2019.
The police attributes this reduction in the crime rate to the strict implementation of lockdown norms and preventive actions taken against criminals. "We are cracking down heavily on criminals with multiple cases. We are also focusing on preventive action by taking good behavior bonds from them as per their financial condition. In some instances, bonds amounting from Rs 20 lakh to Rs 25 lakh have been taken. In some instances, criminals have been sent to jail as well," said Mumbai Police spokesperson and Deputy Commissioner of Police S Chaitanya.