Thursday, August 27, 2009

Watch out

Of the major cities in India, Kolkata has an enviable crime rate (that's the number of crimes registered under the Indian Penal Code per thousand population) of 82.5, which makes it the lowest among major cities in India. Chennai's record on this is not as enviable; in 2007, the latest year for which data are available on the NCRB website, Chennai's crime rate was 256.9, far higher than even New Delhi or Mumbai. That it is much better than Bangalore (475.6) or Hyderabad (314.3) is scant consolation to a city which prides itself on its police force, one of the oldest in the country.

Of course there are always many reasons touted; Mumbai, New Delhi and even Kolkata have urban populations that are more than double that of Chennai, the Chennai police is more scrupulous about registering cases and the clincher being that the Chennai police has a better record of solving crimes than their counterparts elsewhere. Of the last, I have not been able to find data, though. Like any large city anywhere in the world, Chennai has a part of its populace leading a life of crime and like in any other large city, they find a good chunk of their victims among newcomers to the city. Overawed by getting to the city, their trust is easily obtained or attention easily diverted, which allows the petty criminal to run his trade rather smoothly.

Surely those newcomers would be better off if they could recognize such practitioners from these photographs - but this board at Chennai Central seems to be better hidden than a newcomer's valuables!

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