Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Vishal Garg shared his views and thoughts with our Asst. Editor Abhijit Chatterjee on the overall situation in this mega city. He says that while there are very nominal cognizable offensive cases in the city, they are laying more emphasis to deal with the cyber crimes with the support of the internet service providers and multi-service providers and by manning a 24×7 helpline to deal with the fraudulent money transfers.
Following are the excerpts of the interview:
What is the crime scenario in Kolkata? Is it less crime prone in comparison to other metropolis?
Crime is relatively low for a major city like Kolkata which has over 141.1 Lakh populations. According to the data of National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), there had been a total of 23990 incidents of cognizable crimes under IPC in the year 2015 in Kolkata. This is a nominal 3.5% of the total national gure. Even the percentage share of crime in Kolkata is lower than that of the state percentage which stands at 6.1%
In the year 2014, Kolkata was awarded the best city award in the category of crime and safety by India Today. The award was given after a rigorous survey of 30 state capitals and metro cities and 20 emerging cities judging on 12 parameters. This speaks a volume about the city.
What are the vulnerable areas in the crime map of the city? How do you manage to tackle the situation in those area and manage law and order?
For a peace loving city like Kolkata there are no as such marked ‘vulnerable areas’ which are crime prone. A brief perusal of crime in Kolkata is made by plotting the data and information regarding some selected crime types on the city map, thereby trying to apply simple geographical techniques in recognition of crime pattern in the city. Certain crime types are common than others and spatial disparity in crime numbers is clearly identiable with an intimate relation with road network and some socio- economic aspects.
Maintaining law and order is done round the clock through public awareness and interactions, pickets, plain cloth surveillance, deploying radio squads and any-other occasion needed arrangements.
What measures you have taken to check crime rates in the city?
By using the data of National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) the overall trends and characteristics of crime, crime rates and crime control techniques in each stage of the criminal justice system in the city are examined. From the data analysed, it is perceived that economic, political, and societal factors play a crucial in the occurrence of crime and crime control practices. Recent phenomena, like the nancial crisis and the current political stalemate in India, seem to have contributed to this disturbing increase in crime. If these factors can be stabilized, then we can anticipate the improvement of crime situation in the country.
Have you noticed any signicant change in crime patterns in recent times? If yes, what are those?
The trends of crime keep changing with the growing population and rap i d development of the society. With the increasing demand and popularity of the internet, the world is at the ngertip. In recent times, the pattern of commission of a crime has changed wherein the use of internet, electronic gadgets and social media has crept in keeping the criminals in anonymity. Some such crimes are:
- Net oriented banking fraud by entering into the system and stealing the password and bank details to siphon off the money
- Forgery/cloning of cheques and other instruments of bank like credit/debit cards
- Hacking social media accounts to post derogatory/obscene languages and pictures
- Black-Mailing over the social media with intention of extracting money or for some other gains etc.
To counter crime over the virtual world, various steps are taken by us. Some of those are:
Organising seminars and workshops with the help of ISPs, MSPs, Bank ofcials to create public awareness such as use of reputed anti-virus software in the system, not to click unrecognised ctitious links, etc.
Manning a 24X7 helpline for public assistance and quick response in cases of fraudulent money transfers.
Asking general public not to share identication numbers and passwords of social networking sites, online banking IDs etc.
Suggesting netizens that if you are setting a prole on social media, be very vague about your description and don’t disclose your personal information, pictures.
Are Kolkatans aware about crime against environment? How Kolkata Police deal with such crime?
We are proud to say that Kolkatanas are very much aware about crime against environment. As per the Crime Data sheet of NCRB for the year 2015 there has been not a single incidence of crime reported against environment under the Forest Act or even the Wild Life Protection Act.
We have a dedicated Section of Wild Life and Environmental Offence to look after and curb any threat to the ora and fauna of the city. Besides, Kolkata Trafc Police has an Anti-Pollution Cell whose responsibility is to randomly check and prosecute vehicles that are polluting the city air. Getting the emission level checked at an interval of every 6 months is mandatory to ply in the city roads. We do not allow vehicles over 15 years of age to ply on city roads.
Do you think crime against women and children are rising? If yes, then what are the steps that have been taken to combat those crimes?
It is a fact that crime against women and children are on the rise in the entire country. The possible reason behind this can be the awareness of women and children, a bigger presence of media and the eagerness of Police to curb such crimes.
Kolkata Police is well equipped to help women and children in the hour of their need. We have certain dedicated sections in Detective Department, like the Women Grievance Cell, Special Juvenile Police Unit, Missing Person Section, Anti- Human Trafficking Unit besides substantial presence of lady police ofcers and staffs in all the 69 Police Stations of the city to solve the problem of deprived women and children by giving special importance.
Requisite steps are taken to curb crime against women and children. Some of them are:
Assigning 24X7 toll-free helpline no 1090, 1091 for Women in need and 1098 for Children in need.
Concerned departments of Kolkata Police continuously engage in making awareness programs through print and electronic media, FM channels on important issues like dowry death, domestic violence, sexual harassment, harassment at work place, immoral trafficking, child trafficking, sexual exploitation of children etc.
Hoarding at important road crossing, notices in PS notice boards are displayed on issues like child marriage, legal right of women and children etc
On different issues of crime against women including domestic violence, a lot of sensitisation and awareness program are arranged from time to time. All ofcers and forces, including men are imparted training from time to time to handle cases regarding crime against women and children
We have four (4) dedicated all-women police stations in different corners of the city where women and children can have the ease to be addressed.