Delhi sees cyber crime spurt as Covid spinoff

Delhi may see the covid wave come and go.  But cyber crime spurt is here to stay.  The good news is that  crime in the time of Covid has had a lesser sting for the city than the year earlier. Patrolling of Delhi’s roads to enforce pandemic regulations appeared to have kept street crime and crimes against women in check. But as dependency on online purchases for most activities during the period grows, so does cyber crime spurt. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) statistics for 2020 revealed this here recently.

Cyber crime spurt rose by 55%

Cases of rape reported by women dipped by 21% in Delhi in 2020 in comparison with the previous year. The overall crimes against women in Delhi went down by 24%. Cyber crime spurt saw a significant rise of 55% in the city. The Covid lockdown in 2020 was a major factor that deterred street criminals and those who would commit Cyber crimes against women. NCRB put the number of crimes against women in 2020 at 9,782, much lower than the 12,902 reported in 2019.

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Against 1,231 cases of rape in 2019, there were a much lower 967 last year, a dip of 21%. Cases of assault against women also slid to 938 in 2020 from 1,088 the previous year. Women also reported 644 cases of sexual harassment when in 2019 they had registered 862. There was also a significant 40% decrease in cases of stalking in 2020. The data shows that 235 cases of stalking were reported to the cops against 388 the previous year.

Police officers believed these were the result of Covid measures such as intensifying night patrolling and tightening security on the streets round the clock. “Patrolling and checking were intensified at night,” an officer said. “Police presence was also adequately enhanced to prevent untoward incidents in localities.” Despite dip in street crime, cyber crime spurt did not see any decline, officials added.

19 metro cities witnessed 21% dip in crimes against women

Across 19 metropolitan cities in India too, there was a 21% decrease in crimes against women, according to the NCRB data. Against the total of 44,738 cases recorded in 2019, there were 35,331 cases of crime against women registered in 2020. The data shows that 30.2% of these cases pertained to either cruelty by husband or his relatives while 197% were cases of assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty. Kidnapping and abduction of women followed with 19% and 7.2%. However, there was no information on cyber crime spurt.

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The lockdown and the restrictions placed on public interactions also played a vital role in keeping street crimes low in 2020. “Through the lockdown and despite the pandemic, our personnel stood guard on roads and in public for the safety of Delhiites,” the officer said.

Explaining why cyber crime spurt saw light of the day, police said it was attributable to many factors. Cyber crime spurt soared by 55% in Delhi. Against 107 reported crimes in 2019, there were 166 in 2020, a large share in cyber crime spurt. A major chunk of these crimes, 59 in 2020, related to transmitting of sexually explicit content on the internet. Such cases had numbered just 19 a year earlier.
Police also said cyber crime spurt and cyber fraud too saw an upward trend, increasing to 31 cases from 11, though cyber stalking cases fell to 12 from 16 in 2019. Cases of online bank frauds also increased to 19 in 2020 from a mere two the previous year. This again shows there has been cyber crime spurt.
“There was a rise in the various categories of cybercrime in 2020,” a police officer said. “One of the reasons why online crimes went up was also due to the lockdown. We detected numerous cases of fake job rackets, fake lotteries, people being duped while being promised Covid medicines and home delivery of other items when the city was at a standstill. Our cybercrime teams in each district registered and probed all cases diligently. Arrests were made in most of these cases.”

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