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Increasing Social Crimes: Are we really safe?

Dikshya Dangol

October 19, 2020

8 MIN READ

Increasing Social Crimes: Are we really safe?
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KATHMANDU: The number of crimes, particularly those against women including rape, murder and acid attacks reported in official statistics is increasing with each passing year in Nepal.

For instance, heart-wrenching news of minors being brutally raped and murdered, suicides, domestic violence, sexual abuse, and cyberbullying hit the headlines every other day amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

One might wonder how the numbers of social crimes are increasing at a time when the entire nation is battling against the coronavirus pandemic.

However, if the data given by the Ministry of Home Affairs is to be believed, the number of crimes is actually decreasing.

Now, a question arises: Which crime has decreased? The straight-forward answer comes: Yes, crimes such as theft and robbery have decreased. The reason is obvious: People have not left their houses due to the coronavirus threat!

However, there has been a significant increase in crimes such as rapes, murders, suicides, and sexual assaults in the last several months.

If the data at the Nepal Police are to be considered, as many as 2,144 cases of rape and 687 cases of attempted rapes were reported in the fiscal year 2019-20. This is an increase from 1,480 rape cases and 727 cases of attempted rape from the last fiscal year.

One of the major reasons for the increased instances of criminal activities is the nationwide lockdown imposed by the government to stem the spread of coronavirus.

Actually, the lockdown has resulted in job losses or unemployment, ruining several business organizations, among others.

According to International Labor Organization (ILO), almost 1.62 million jobs, including workers in wholesale-retail, construction, tourism, small enterprises and daily work wages, are likely to be out of the drain due to the current crisis.

Apart from them, a substantial number of Nepalese migrant workers have lost their jobs.

It is anticipated that the unemployed migrant workers will return to Nepal resulting in an increase in the unemployed population here and will have a significant decrease in remittance.

These are some of the factors that have added fuel to people’s frustration, and as a result, have made rooms for more crimes.

Mostly, girls have become the worst victims as many of them have lost their lives or have had the most traumatic experience just to satisfy someone’s temporary desire.

For instance, according to the Nepal Police data, there were more than 1200 cases of suicides, 1100 cases of murder and attempt to murder, 600 cases of rape and violence during the period of nationwide lockdown.

Kathmandu recorded as many as 326 cases of rape and violence against women, more than 90 suicide cases, and 110 murder and attempts to murder cases during the period of lockdown.

However, these are just the statistics that were officially recorded when the victims actually filed a complaint.

It must be noted that the unregistered cases for such crimes in the name of religion, honor, just self-desire and personal reasons will stand out to be even more than the registered cases.

In some of the cases, victims just ignore filing a complaint whereas, in most cases, victims are compelled and brainwashed not to file a complaint.

The facts establish the point that amidst the nationwide lockdown imposed by the government, the nation has seen a significant rise in the number of social crimes.

As per the experts, the cases are now at an alarming rate. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 crisis has put down a shadow of all these crimes. The concerns are suppressed saying it’s time we need to understand and realize to suppress corona, not raise our voices.

Isn’t it horrifying to know that the minors of age group 11-16 are facing cyberbullying, violence, assault and as reported even a one-year-old infant was a victim?

What is even more horrifying is that, in most of the cases of rape and sexual assaults, the culprits are none other than the victim’s close friends and/or the family members.

Currently, among the reported cases, most of the victims are from the age group 11-16 years old whether it’s a rape case or any other sexual assault. Notwithstanding the evidence, the government still lacks strong actions against the culprits.

Likewise, mental health has been a serious issue as the number of people committing suicide lately is increasing on a big scale.

Mental health is something that has still not been addressed and understood genuinely by the people.

The mental health of an individual is directly related to crimes as a person with an unstable and unhealthy mental condition is likely to commit a crime. Hence, this issue deserves attention and has to be exercised.

Until and unless people are properly aware of such things, these crime rates will never decrease. It is considered that we are going through a pandemic; hence, safety and health should be our foremost priority.

Similarly, crimes such as an acid attack, murders, etc. are rising and as mentioned earlier, there are low to lack of strict laws. In many instances, prevalent laws are not being implemented sincerely as well.

A lot of people, irrespective of their age groups, have been victims of social crimes. Mostly, girls have become the worst victims as many of them have lost their lives or have had the most traumatic experience just to satisfy someone’s temporary desire.

We must understand that sexual harassment; or an assault of any sex is a serious issue of human rights violation; it is not just confined to gender.

Likewise, crimes like murders, suicide, acid attacks among others are equally dangerous to society and an individual. The increasing rate of these crimes should be noted and worked on very seriously by the government and the concerned authorities. Every citizen of a democratic nation wishes to walk alone freely with no sense of fear whether it’s day or night; and the state must feel ashamed if it cannot ensure this concern.

What can reduce the rate of crimes, then? 

It’s high time for us to stop being silent and ignorant in such sensitive issues. Waking up the government is one of the duties to be fulfilled by all the citizens.

We must stand up together and appeal to the government and the concerned authorities to bring changes in law and make it more favorable for the victims.

Alongside this, we should urge the government to implement the said laws more effectively so that everyone feels s/he is safe.

Here, we should keep in mind that the death penalty is not the solution for crimes. What is more important than the death penalty is to change the mindset of every individual, educate them from the scratch.

Until and unless people are properly aware of such things, these crime rates will never decrease. It is considered that we are going through a pandemic; hence, safety and health should be our foremost priority.

However, we should also understand and realize that more numbers of people are losing their lives due to increasing social crimes than the transmission of Covid-19.

The question here is quite simple, is the government still going to ignore the current situation or come up with updated initiations which will actually benefit the real-world situation?

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