Crime rate surges, casts shadow on Karnataka 

The latest National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data reveals a disquieting surge in the crime rate, casting a shadow over the state’s reputation as a hub for jobs and investments.
Image used for representational purpose.
Image used for representational purpose.

BENGALURU: In Karnataka, a state synonymous with economic growth and opportunities, a concerning trend has emerged in the shadows of prosperity.

The latest National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data reveals a disquieting surge in the crime rate, casting a shadow over the state’s reputation as a hub for jobs and investments. As the state continues to attract businesses and investments, the causes behind the rising crime wave demand closer scrutiny, raising questions about the delicate balance between development and security.

The latest data reveals a visible shift in the State’s crime statistics. The comprehensive figures indicate an increase, with Karnataka recording a total of 1,80,742 cases, including 598 rape, 67 human trafficking incidents and 1,482 murders. The data represents a notable escalation from the 1,63,697 cases reported in 2021 and 1,50,080 cases documented in 2020. Delving into these numbers prompts a deeper exploration of the underlying factors contributing to the rise in reported incidents, signalling the need for a closer examination of the state’s current challenges in maintaining law and order.

Karnataka, despite being a beacon for employment through dynamic entrepreneurship, finds itself ranked ninth in economic offences, with a total of 7,565 cases recorded, including 7,073 cases registered for fraud, cheating and forgery through the year 2022. The unexpected juxtaposition prompts a critical examination of the challenges that are now inherent in the economic situation of the State, which has long been a pioneer in fostering business and innovation.

With a total of 7,988 cases, there has been a significant and alarming 46 per cent increase in offences targeting children, as evidenced by a substantial total of 3,239 cases registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, along with 97 instances of child labour. The State, with 218 registered cases, also holds the record for the highest reported cases in the country under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act.

Targeting seniors, women

The NCRB statistics also paint a worrying picture for Karnataka, where progress and tradition coalesce, with an 86 per cent surge in crimes against senior citizens. The state documented 1,583 incidents of crimes against the elderly, including 93 murder cases, marking an increase in the total number of cases from 1,442 in 2021 and 853 cases in 2020. 

Furthermore, Karnataka stands at third position in cases of assault on women, with 4,712 reported incidents and a total of 655 cases of sexual harassment, including 43 instances reported specifically at the workplace. As a reflection of the complex intersection of modernity and societal challenges, the whopping figures give a close look into the root causes and are also a call to address the safety and security of its most vulnerable populations.

Tech crime on the rise

As per the crime report, not only have children and senior citizens fallen victim to crimes, but the techies fuelling the Information Technology hub have become victims of cybercrimes. 

The state recorded a staggering 50 per cent surge with 12,556 cybercrime cases, the second highest documented after Telangana, where a total of 15,297 cases were recorded. The state also witnessed a total of 12,549 incidents reported under the Information Technology Act, including 7,615 cases of cheating by impersonation by using a computer resource, the highest recorded across the country. As the digital landscape expands, these alarming statistics cast a shadow over the State capital’s technological ambitions, raising pertinent questions about the security challenges faced by the innovators propelling Karnataka into the future.

Shockingly, despite a shift like crime, with traditional criminals adapting to the digital age as cyber fraudsters, the State is also combatting a persistent surge in conventional crime, with 12,119 motor vehicle thefts, 5,519 burglaries and 1,757 robberies.

The NCRB statistics also highlight a growing menace as Karnataka faces a total of 6,399 cases under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, of which 5,170 involve personal drug possession, and 15,257 are recorded under the Liquor and Narcotics Drugs Related Act. To address the surge, tackling root causes like poverty and unemployment is crucial, alongside updating laws and striking a balance between proactive measures and rehabilitation efforts for a more effective solution.

Economic, social, and political factors

D Rajasekhar, Director of the Institute of Social and Economic Change, said crime rates escalate due to the convergence of economic, social and political factors. Poverty and unemployment, key economic elements, drive people, especially unemployed youth, to resort to criminal activities as a means of earning income, as highlighted in the recent NCRB report.

He explained that additionally, unaddressed social issues like inequality and human rights violations contribute to violent behaviour, with corruption and discrimination in law enforcement further exacerbating the problem. Addressing these root causes through initiatives focused on education and employment opportunities is the only long-term solution that can reduce the crime rate.

ST Ramesh, former Director General and Inspector General of Police (DG & IGP), said the crime report provides a limited view as not all incidents are reported. The surge in cybercrime cases in Karnataka is influenced by the state’s tech-centric culture, where knowledge fosters both innovation and misuse.

While technology aims for a positive change, some misuse is due to in-depth knowledge of software and technology. The city’s awareness and reporting mechanism with Cyber, Economics and Narcotics (CEN) police stations in place, amplifies reporting rates and within a densely populated setting, an upswing in crime rates becomes inevitable.  

The surge in cybercrime cases in Karnataka is influenced by the state’s tech-centric culture, where knowledge fosters both innovation and misuse. While technology aims for a positive change, some misuse is due to in-depth knowledge of software and technology 

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