GUWAHATI, June 29 - There have been significant changes in the pattern of crimes in Assam in the last four decades and the most disturbing fact is that in more than 90 per cent of the rape cases, the accused are known to the victims. Another disturbing fact is that majority of the murder case victims are people of the age group of 18 to 35 years, which are the most productive period of a person�s life.
Special Director General of Police (Law and Order) Kula Saikia, who conducted a detailed study on the changing pattern of crime in the State since 1974, told The Assam Tribune that some significant factors came to light during the study and there have been major shifts in the pattern of crimes in the State over the years. He said that crimes involving public order and economic offences have become more prominent in recent times. He pointed out that growth of agitational programmes may be one of the reasons for disturbance of public order, while, the economic liberalization led to increase in economic offenses.
Saikia revealed that though the number of violent activities by the militants is coming down, the State is still ranked high in cases of violence due to kidnapping and crimes against women. The number of homicide cases in the State has come down since 2000, but majority of the murder cases were committed due to property clashes and not because of any personal vendetta as is the case in some other states of the country. The disturbing fact is that the number of dowry related cases are also increasing since the 1990s. He said that apart from property clashes, the other prime reasons for murders in the State include dowry, love affairs, etc. Majority of the murder victims were of the age group of 18 to 35 years.
The Special DG said that as in more than 90 per cent of the cases, the accused of the rape cases are known to the victims, there is need for creating gender sensitivity and awareness. He pointed out that in majority of the rape cases in the State, the accused were relatives, friends, neighbours and other persons known to the victims.
Saikia said that there has also been a shift in the pattern of the crime against property. The pattern has changed from robbery to theft as it seems that the criminals have started to avoid direct confrontation with the victims. He said that the places of occurrence of such cases are also shifting more towards commercial establishments and the criminals are looking more and more for the high value goods.
However, contrary to popular belief, urbanization did not have a direct impact on the pattern of crimes in the State.
It may be mentioned here that Saikia received PhD degree from the IIT, Guwahati for his thesis on economics of crimes: analysis of trends, pattern and determinants of criminal behaviour in the districts of Assam.