Here is a big shocker. Odisha seems right away vrooming on the crime highway. After posting double-digit growth in criminal cases in the election year 2019, the pandemic year 2020 had also witnessed double-digit growth in crime case counts.
What looks eye-popping here is despite putting in place a tight embargo on movement for over 180 days last year courtesy of the pandemic clampdowns like lockdown, weekend shutdown, night curfews et al, the crime tally in the last decade posted double-digit growth for the third time.
As per a written reply in the State Assembly, today by Minister of State (MoS), Home Dibyashankar Mishra, Odisha had registered over 1.432 lakh cases of crime (IPC + SLL) in the year 2020. The case tally in 2019 was over 1.21lakh.
Odisha Crime - A 10-year Picture
An analysis of the data since the year 2011 shows that the State had recorded a 14 per cent growth in crime case count in 2012. Since then, the rate of growth hovered mainly between 3-7 per cent. Only in the election year 2019, the growth was over 13 per cent. In the backdrop of high growth in 2019, the spurt by over 10 percent in 2020 underlines the growing malaise in the State.
The triennium average (TA) also marks the State's stride in the crime chart. The TA growth of criminal cases for the years 2017, 2018 and 2019 had been around 6.5 per cent. But the growth rate in 2020 was 10.4 percent.
For the two consecutive years, the annual growth rate of criminal cases had been remaining far higher than the TA of the previous years.
What Do Experts Say?
“The yardstick to determine the enormity of the crime is TA (Triennium Average), not year–on–year rise. If the growth percent this year is higher than TA, then this shows that crimes are growing alarmingly in the State,” explained Bipin Bihari Mishra, former DGP.
As per BPRD and NCRB study reports, when the growth rate in the case of crime has been at wide variance from the growth rate of population in a state, it shows the law and order are taking a vicious turn there.
Significantly, as per census data, the population growth every year in Odisha has been estimated at 1.4 per cent. Against the backdrop, the spiralling growth of 13 per cent and 10 per cent for the two consecutive years denotes that the State's crime pace has been on top gear.
The data tabled by MoS Home reveals a disturbing trend. The majority of industrial districts in the State have recorded a very high crime growth rate. This seems no music to the ears of power that be, especially when to lure investments 'Make In Odisha' conclave were held biennially.
While many of the industrial districts have depicted an extraordinary growth in the cases of crime during the pandemic, Puri district, a political violence hotspot, showed a sharp spurt in crime cases last year. Sample the numbers below.
- The delta plus district - Deogarh - topped the crime table with 182 percent growth. The district last year had rocked the headlines with the case of a triple murder, where allegations were levelled against the police administration.
- Tribal district Mayurbhanj followed it with a growth rate of 39.7 per cent.
- With a 36 percent rise, Sundargarh figured conspicuously in the State crime growth chart.
- Industrial district Jharsuguda with a rate of growth of 31 percent followed Sundargarh.
- Dhenkanal had posted a 31 per cent rise in crime cases in 2020.
- CM Naveen Patnaik's home district Ganjam had posted a sharp jump of 26.86 percent.
- Puri followed Ganjam with a growth rate of 26.1 percent.
- Another industrial town Angul had witnessed nearly 25 percent rise in cases.
- Other districts that posted a double-digit growth are Jajpur (11.7%), Khordha (13.4%), Jagatsinghpur (13.4%), Bargarh (15.3%), Balangir (11.1%)