The rate of serious crimes across India saw a decline in 2020 and not just in Uttar Pradesh. The COVID-19 restrictions may have played a part in it.
Serious crimes like rape, homicide, and theft offenses in Uttar Pradesh have decreased from previous years, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report for 2020. Between 2013 and 2017, however, each of these violations grew. The trend has not been constant since 2013 in Uttar Pradesh. Only since 2018 has there been a considerable decrease in serious crimes. Statistics from the NCRB in 2013 show that heinous crimes like rape, murder, and theft were 3,050, 5,047, 41,949, respectively, in Uttar Pradesh. These numbers saw a significant rise until 2017. NCRB data of 2018 reports 4,018 murder cases, rape cases reported were 3,946 and total theft cases were 55,614. In 2019, there were 3,806, 3,065, and 50,197 murder, rape, and theft cases, respectively. Total India Penal Code (IPC) and Special and Local Laws (SLL) crimes reported from 2017 to 2019 were 6,00,082, 5,85,157, and 6,28,578, respectively. The latest data of 2020 shows that 3,779 cases of murder and 2,769 cases of rape and total theft cases were 33,250. For the first time since 2013, the number of rape cases in Uttar Pradesh fell below 3,000. Similarly, the number of theft cases has fallen below 35,000. The NCRB data also suggests that crimes under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Special and Local Laws (SLL) in Uttar Pradesh have surged, with 585157 recorded in 2018, 628578 reported in 2019, and 657925 reported in 2020. Due to the COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020, there was a decline in severe crimes all over the country. Even after lockdown measures were eased, there were strict restrictions with heavy police presence in several parts of the country. However, a steep rise in COVID-19 restriction violations took the overall crime rate to new highs. India Today citing the NCRB data, reported a decline in criminal cases against women from 405326 in 2019 to 371503 in 2020. NCRB data also showed that the cases registered under "Disobedience to order duly promulgated by Public Servant" (Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code) increased from 29469 in 2019 to 612179 in 2020. The India Today report also quoted NCRB stating that violations of COVID-19 laws caused most registered cases while pandemic measures were implemented across India. Meanwhile, the Hindu report noted a 21 fold increase in crimes related to disobeying government orders between 2019 and 2020. The recorded crimes in India increased by 28 percent in 2020 compared to 2019, mainly due to non-compliance with COVID-19 related lockdown rules. Perhaps due to fewer new criminal cases and a decline in serious crimes, there was an improvement in conviction rates and charge sheets by the police. While national crime rates of serious crimes declined in Uttar Pradesh through 2020, it was in line with the decrease across India. Thus, it will be inappropriate to single out Uttar Pradesh in seeing a decrease in serious crimes as strict COVID-19 restrictions have also played a part in reducing the national total of serious crimes.