Introduction - Urbanization
Urbanization is the process of the expansion of country's urban areas. It is the
shift from rural areas of a country to the increasing urban areas i.e.
transformation from villages, small towns to cities, metropolitan cities, etc.
Urbanization includes various factors such as industrial development, better
infrastructure, well built roads, highways and expressways. It can also be
indicated by the factors such as increase in migration of the people from rural
areas to the urban areas in search for better job opportunities, higher incomes,
better lifestyle, etc.
It has been propounded by various theories and researches that urbanization is
the key factor for promoting the growth of industrial sector and development of
the economy. Urbanization is a key characteristic of all developing and
developed nations of the world. But "with great powers come great
responsibilities", with increasing urbanization there is an increase in the
demand of better lifestyle among the citizens.
People tend to find many ways to have higher income levels, so in order to
achieve this there are people at times who tend to find shortcuts to a better
life thus leading them to follow the path of crime. Urbanization is positively
related to the crime rates in the contemporary worlds, the greed to a better
lifestyle has forced people to take wrong paths leading them to the world of
Crime and factors affecting crime rate
"Crime is an activity that goes against the law
." Although urbanization is not
the sole factor which is responsible for increasing crime rates, it depends on
numerous other factors, which are:
How urbanization affects crime rate:
Poverty is one of the primary reasons for crime. Countries with
high rates of economic backwardness tend to witness higher crime rates than
other developed countries. Since people do not have a secure means of
living, they involve themselves and their time in criminal activities since
they find it an easy means to get what the want. The ever increasing gap
between the rich and the poor attribute to the poorer section of society to
indulge in these activities to cope up with the standard urban life. Not
being able to earn and sustain themselves leaves people so frustrated that
they resort to illegal means to provide for themselves and their families.
According to NCRB, theft is one of the most common crimes in India which
indicates that the wealth inequality and insufficient means to acquire a
living in an honest way is driving the poor in India towards a life of
- Peer Pressure:
It is an established fact that peer pressure plays a
significant role in the lives of people especially in teenagers and young
adults. That is a phase of life where people tend to look up to their
friends and colleagues and believe what they do is the right thing to do or
they should also have the things which their friends possess. So, peer
pressure compels them to join the bandwagon. The lack of wisdom and
experience these people have just added fuel to the fire. Therefore, many
individuals in their youth get drawn to vices like alcohol consumption and
smoking just by looking at their peers. This also increases to drug
addiction which results in spending huge amounts of money to fulfil the
urges of such addictions which encourages them to lead a life full of
The interrelation between politics and crime is overlooked many times. This
happens when people engage in criminal activities while dealing with
political issues. The politicians sometimes misuse their power to get things
done through unlawful means. There are number of politicians with a criminal
background and they often suppress such facts with money as politics is also
a major factor contributing to corruption in the country. Many youth members
of political parties are often given weapons and instructed to handle
matters violently during conflicts. Therefore, any political dispute,
usually leads to mob violence and destruction of properties. This not only
exposes youth to criminal activities but also puts the lives of various
citizens at risk. So, an unstable political situation in a country leads to
an exponential increase in the crimes that take place there.
Even today in the contemporary times, various divides and issues of society
can be attributed to religion. Despite it being a basic human right, many
people are deprived of practicing their own religion. This leads to a
feeling of resentment in the minds of believers. The communal riots in India
is not a rare thing. There have been many instances of riots due to religion
disparity in a country like India due to the diversity in religions and
cultures. A lot of innocent lives have been lost in this war over
ideological concepts that have existed since time immemorial. This is an
extremely sad state of affairs considering that it is already the 21st
century and humans have progressed so much in other areas. There are a huge
number of crimes committed by religious fanatics while they try to further
their cause by propagating their religion or at times try to establish their
religious superiority over other faiths by resorting to destruction and
Often the background and family conditions of a criminal can be attributed
to the reason behind their crimes. When people believe that they are
responsible to provide for their family and they are unable to do so owing
to lack of opportunities, lack of education or other such reasons, they
resort to crime. This is sad as it is likely that such person would have
refrained from engaging in crimes if such person had enough means to sustain
themselves and provide for their family. This factor does not lead to crimes
such as theft alone but at times also motivates people to commit gruesome
acts that put their freedom and lives at risk just so they can make a good
amount of money through bribes or ransoms that can be used for their
In today's times, money is one of the most important aspects of everyone's
life. The meaning of money is not restricted to the amount of wealth in a
person's bank account but is instead also attributed to their societal
status, worth, and even values. As a result of this, people value money more
than their relationships and happiness. What other people think of a person
is more important to them than how they feel. Even schools and universities
do not teach children how to be happy and satisfied in life but instead
teach them how to make more money, which indirectly attributes wealth to
worth. As a result, people earning less feel unworthy and left behind and
are compelled to indulge in a life of crime so as to make more money and
have a life at par with society and feel worthy.
Unemployment or lack of employment is like a primary cause to all the other
factors affecting crime rate. Lack of employment opportunities is an issue
faced by developing and developed countries alike. A huge portion of the
youth of today are unemployed and as per a report by the Confederation of
Indian Industry, the youth employment rate is ever increasing. According to
the data recorded by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, the
unemployment rate in our country is ever increasing. Naturally, this leaves
the youth frustrated as despite spending a lot of time and money on their
education they still find it tough to get a good job. This leads to a
feeling of resentment towards the system in the minds of many youngsters who
then rebel and resort to crimes early on in their lives.
- Unequal rights:
Discrimination or inequality is another significant contributor to the
increasing crime rates. People resort to notorious activities when they are
deprived of their basic rights since that impedes their means to obtain a
livelihood in a conventional and honest way. They have limited options and
are already at a disadvantaged position in society that they choose to make
money and sustain themselves through hook or crook. This usually involves
them engaging in criminal activities.
- Unfair justice system:
The flawed justice system is another major contributor to crimes. When
people believe that they are not given their due and are unfairly treated by
the system itself, they harbor feelings of resentment towards it and start
to rebel. This involves them engaging in criminal activities and doing the
opposite of what is expected of them. People try to get justice for
themselves when they feel like the state is not going to do the same and
tend to commit various acts of crime in their journey to avenge themselves
and get what they believe they deserve. Many innocent people resort to
crimes when they are wrongly proven to be guilty in the Courts owing to a
lack of trust in the system.
Socioeconomic Factors: Urban areas often have higher population densities, greater economic inequality, and more diverse social interactions. These factors can contribute to both higher crime rates and increased opportunities for criminal activities. Poverty, unemployment, lack of education, and social disintegration in certain urban areas can be associated with higher crime rates.
Concentration of People: Cities concentrate a large number of people in a relatively small area, creating conditions where criminal activities can occur. The close proximity of individuals and higher population densities can lead to increased opportunities for crimes such as theft, robbery, and assault.
Social Disorganization: Rapid urbanization can disrupt social networks and community cohesion, leading to social disorganization. Weaker social ties and a lack of community integration can result in higher crime rates as informal social control mechanisms weaken.
Availability of Resources and Services: Urban areas typically offer more opportunities for employment, education, and access to resources. However, uneven distribution of resources and services can contribute to social and economic disparities, which in turn can be associated with higher crime rates.
Policing and Surveillance: Urban areas often have higher police presence and better surveillance systems compared to rural areas. This can lead to more effective crime reporting, detection, and enforcement, which might result in higher reported crime rates in urban areas. However, it can also act as a deterrent to crime.
The relationship between urbanization and crime rates can vary across different
cities, regions and countries. Factors such as cultural norms, government
policies, urban planning and community engagement can influence the impact of
urbanization on crime rates. Therefore a careful analysis is required to
understand the specific dynamics in each context.
Data And Statistics
In India, studies on rural communities indicate that the 'fear of crime' is
lower than that of urban areas, and is focused on certain parts that are
particularly vulnerable, such as dark and lonely places, unattractive and
uncared for places, poor design of subway, housing, bus stand or bus terminal,
railway station, inadequacy of street lights, and so on, is often implicated
directly. If one goes by the direct proportionality of crime with urbanization.
According to the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB), "Crime in India", 2011 a
total of 4,75,369 cognizable crimes under IPC were reported in 53 mega cities
during the year 2011 as compared to 3,68,883 crimes in 35 mega cities during the
year 2010 (NCRB compendium, GOI's 2011).
The cities of Delhi, Kanpur, Mumbai, and Bengaluru have accounted for 9.9%,
7.3%, 6.7% and 6.3% respectively of the total crimes reported from 53 mega
cities. The average rate of crime in urban agglomeration centres was at 295.1,
which was much higher than the national crime rate of 192.2. Kochi reported the
highest crime rate of 1636.4 amongst the mega cities in the country followed by
Gwalior (709.3) and Drug Bhilainagar (683.0).
The crime rate for each city is compared with the corresponding crime rate of
the "Domain State in the Crime rate (IPC) in cities and was generally higher
than the corresponding crime rate of Domain State.
The crime rate was lower than that of the respective Domain State in the case of
Chandigarh, Chennai, Coimbatore, Delhi (city), Hyderabad, Kannur, Kolkata,
Kozhikode, Madurai, Malappuram, Mumbai, Surat, Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur, and
Vasai Vihar. The crime rate at the national level increased by 2.5% (from 187.6
in the year 2010 to 192.2 in the year 2011), however, the crime rate in cities
has decreased by 13.7% (from 341.9 in the year 2010 to 295.1 in the year 2011).
Remedies to curb criminal activities in urban areas
As we have seen in today's world crime isn't restricted to poorer section of
society but is something that people of all backgrounds even the rich
politicians do. This makes it important to formulate techniques and curb crime
altogether before it gets out of hand.
The government plays a significant role here. They introduce and execute
effective and efficient crime prevention techniques in their capacity as a
leader of the people so as to ensure there is harmony in society. Despite there
being stringent acts and codes like Indian Penal Code, 1860 and other such
enactments formulated by the government, the number of crimes reported in India
is increasing every year as per the data collected by the National Crime Records
Though it seems effective, by these figures one can ascertain that stringent
punishments alone aren't sufficient to create fear in the minds of criminals and
deter them from engaging in criminal activities. So, a revaluation of the
government's efforts to curb crime is the need of the hour.
Some measures that can be taken to curb criminal activities are mentioned
- Speedy Justice System:
Justice delayed is justice denied. Though not specifically provided for in
the Indian Constitution, the right to speedy justice is implicit under
Article 21 of the Constitution which provides for the protection of the life
and personal liberty of the citizens of India. It is high time that the
Indian justice system is evaluated. The excessive backlog of cases and
inevitable delay of justice to the victims has led to people losing faith in
the system. Even a heinous case like Nirbhaya case took years to punish the
culprits and bring justice to the victim despite being fast-tracked.
One of the foremost reasons for this delay is the principle the legal system
is based on- "innocent until proven guilty". This gives criminals the
opportunity to get away with their crimes and if convicted, even then appeal
for a review in higher courts further prolong the process. This unfortunate
situation not only encourages criminals to engage in crime but also worsens
the blow for the victims.
First step towards the speedy justice system should be the appointment of a
sufficient number of judges. The inadequacy of judges in India is the
foremost reason behind the pending cases in courts. Additionally, more Fast
Track Courts have to be set up at the earliest. Apart from plunging the
vacancies of the judges, the working days and annual vacations of judges in
all Courts have to be reviewed too.
- Creation of job opportunities:
As already mentioned before, unemployment is one of the major reason for
increase in crime rates. Criminals often engage in unlawful acts because
their economical means to survive otherwise and insufficient. In studies
assessing the correlation between crime and unemployment, it was established
that unemployment leads to a rise in property crime and not violent crimes.
From this, one can ascertain that the criminals here indulge in criminal
activities as a means to survive. So, creating job opportunities would work
as an efficient deterrent to crime in such scenarios.
- Overcoming economical inequalities:
It is an established fact that the divide between the rich and the poor is
ever increasing. The rich seem to be enjoying luxurious lives that are
constantly improving while the poor still find it hard to get access to
basic necessities and amenities they require for their survival like clean
water, food, shelter, and the like. Given that studies have indicated that
the poor then resort to petty criminal offenses so as to survive, the
government ought to step in and reduce such economical inequalities through
Bridging the gap between the rich and the poor would not only reduce the
negative classism brings with it but would also ensure that all citizens
have a means of survival and do not have to resort to any unlawful
activities for the same.
- Formulating provisions for cybercrimes:
Post the coming of the internet, everything has shifted online. In the past
few years cyber crimes such as online fraud, scam calls, hacking mobiles and
computers through malwares and viruses has increased beyond imagination.
Cyberspace is now a new, easy and accessible domain for criminal activities.
It is high time the government formulates effective provisions to protect
citizens in the virtual space too. For this, dysfunctional cyber security
cells aren't sufficient and there need to be legitimate legislative
- Raising awareness among the people:
The people should be made aware of their rights and remedies. Alongside
this, all the youth should be educated not only how to be good citizens but
also on how to steer clear from online offences and avoid being victims of
crimes. Furthermore, the faith of the people in the justice system should be
restored by improving the system and also educating people on the approach
they should take when faced with a crime so they can report it the right way
and ensure they get justice. Criminals will also be deterred from engaging
in criminal activities if the people they target are well equipped to handle
- Promoting harmony among religions:
India is a secular country in which all religions are equal in all aspects.
Despite this, there are numerous instances of prejudice against certain
religions and ethinic groups. The government has failed to address this and
take the necessary action. This could lead to various problems in the
upcoming years. To do away with that, the government ought to be neutral
while enacting laws and ensure that the rights of all citizens are
safeguarded irrespective of the religion or ethnic group they belong to. A
society in which all the citizens live in harmony will most certainly have
reduced crime rates.
- Penalising white collar criminals:
White-collar crimes refer to non-violent crimes committed by individuals,
businesses or even the government which are financially motivated.
Corruption is a cognate form of white-collar crime. It is still rampant in
India despite the enactment of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 which
was later amended to the Prevention of Corruption Act, 2018.
Corruption, in simple terms, refers to the misuse of power by government
officials so as to facilitate their illegitimate private gain. It has various
detrimental effects on the whole country.
For starters, it stunts the growth of the economy by discouraging investment and
modifying the composition of government spending to the disadvantage of the
public. Unfortunately, corruption and other white-collar crimes aren't given as
much importance by the government as compared to other crimes.
This is problematic as it sets a dangerous precedent and may lead to increasing
cases of money laundering, bank thefts, and the like. Despite the enactment of
the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018, little has been done to penalise
offenders like Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi. The government ought to be more
enterprising in this regard and take charge by penalising all the white-collar
criminals at the earliest.
As we can see that the majority of the factors affecting the crimes today are
due to the increasing urbanisation. The greed to achieve a better lifestyle and
cope up with the people around and provide for the family. The methods to earn
money through shortcuts ultimately encourages people to choose the path of
crime. The inequalities in society, the lack of job opportunities, the
ever-widening gap between rich and poor has resulted in the increase in crimes.
Although urbanisation is not the sole factor affecting crimes but indeed it is
the primary factor which gives birth to all the other factors that affect crime
and therefore the above-mentioned remedies must be implemented in a country to
control the crime throughout the country.
- Harshit Agrawal and
- Himani Sharma