Covid-19 lockdown has some unintended gains: Fall in crime rate, fatalities on roads, suicides


Written by Vishnu Varma
, Ralph Alex Arakal
, Tora Agarwala
, Rahul V Pisharody
, Debraj Deb
| Bengaluru, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Kochi |

Updated: April 30, 2020 4:12:23 pm

Covid-19 lockdown has some unintended gains: Fall in crime rate, fatalities on roads, suicides Kozhikode: Police personnel query commuters for stepping out of their homes, in the course of the nationwide lockdown to curb the unfold of coronavirus, in Kozhikode, April 23, 2020. (PTI Photo/File)

Coronavirus (Covid-19): It’s been 37 days for the reason that Centre put in place a stringent nationwide lockdown as a part of efforts to stem the unfold of the coronavirus pandemic. As of Thursday, over 33,000 folks have been hospitalised with the an infection, accounting for simply over 1000 deaths. The pandemic has affected all methods of life, forcing the largest lockdown in historical past with billions of individuals suggested to remain indoors. But an unintended consequence of the lockdown has been a fall in the variety of deaths reported throughout India because of fewer crimes and an enormous discount in highway fatalities. While country-wide knowledge isn’t accessible, accounts of cops and hospital emergency employees in sure states point out the pattern.

In Kerala, a high police officer confirmed that there has been a big fall in the variety of murders, suicides, unnatural deaths and highway accidents in the state between March 25 and April 14, the interval of the primary part of lockdown, versus the identical interval final 12 months.

“We saw a 40% fall in murder cases in the period between March 25 and April 14 this year as opposed to the same period last year. Similarly, there has been a 70% fall in rape cases and a 100% fall in cases of violence against women and children. Naturally, since there are fewer vehicles on the road right now, accidents have come down too,” stated Karunakaran, deputy superintendent on the state crime information bureau in Thiruvananthapuram.

According to the police, there have been eight murders in the state in the interval this 12 months versus 13 final 12 months. The variety of lacking instances in the identical interval this 12 months is 132 in comparison with 851 final 12 months. Suicides have come down from 445 in 2019 to 192 this 12 months. Unnatural deaths in the identical 21-day interval final 12 months was 1052, in comparison with 630 this 12 months.

Kerala, which accounts for big share of highway accidents as a consequence of excessive density of inhabitants and overcrowding of roads, can also be seeing a drop in the variety of accidents and casualties as a result of lockdown. According to the police knowledge, solely 105 accidents had been reported in the 21 day interval of the lockdown versus 1787 incidents in 2019. A complete of 13 folks have misplaced their lives this 12 months, in comparison with 185 individuals final 12 months.

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“In all aspects, crime cases in Kerala have comparatively fallen during the lockdown period. I think, family bonds may have grown tighter during this period which may be why we are seeing a dip in cases of suicide. The government is also trying to alleviate the stress through its mental health helplines,” the officer stated.

READ | Eagle in the sky: Drone operators and Kerala Police are a winning combination to enforce lockdown

At the MAJ Hospital, an vital non-public healthcare establishment in Kochi, the dip in highway accidents is reflecting in its every day admission in the casualty part. Trauma instances have considerably diminished as properly. Even although it’s not a Covid-designated hospital, the variety of folks searching for therapy on a every day foundation for numerous illnesses and diseases have come down as properly, stated an official. “Earlier, we used to have children admitted as a result of injuries in domestic accidents. But now, most children are indoors. Fatalities on roads have reduced because less people are on the roads these days,” stated Pheno, the administrator.

The hospital’s outpatient division has seen a fall in the variety of these searching for therapy too. Only these with extreme diseases which require a doctor’s steering are arriving on the hospital. “We have an infection screening clinic where we check those who come with fever, cold and other symptoms. We check their travel history to see if it’s Covid-related. If not, we refer them to our doctors,” stated Pheno.

Hospitals in metro cities like Bengaluru are additionally reporting a decline in trauma instances. Dr Jagadish Hiremath, managing director of ACE Suhas Hospital in Bengaluru, stated, “Since we are located in the Jigani industrial area, we used to receive at least 10 minor industrial accidents in a week. We also used to get those injured in major road accidents. But, since mid-March, there are no admissions with such complaints.”

India lockdown, bengaluru lockdown, bengaluru streets lockdown,coronavirus lockdown pictures, coronavirus India, coronavirus India updates, coronavirus latest updates, coronaviurs updates, coronavirus news, indian express news Railway employees return house after their every day housekeeping work at a railway station in Bengaluru. (Express Photo/Ralph Alex Arakal)

“Our consultants have cut down their time in the hospital to just two hours per day. We are running only emergency and OBG departments.” The hospital’s casualty division earlier used to see quite a few acute gastritis instances as a consequence of consumption of liquor. But with liquor retailers shut, such instances usually are not being reported too.

Far away in Tripura, Deep Kumar Debbarma, state nodal officer for Covid-19, informed that the persons are adhering to the enchantment of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to postpone all non-essential surgical procedures and medical appointments until the hazard of Covid-19 is swept away. Attendance at outpatient (OP) departments of hospitals are thinning too. “At the GB Panth Hospital, where the number of people coming into OP varied between 1200 and 1500 on an average day, only 600-650 are turning up now,” he stated.

In some states like Assam, police imagine the lockdown has resembled a ‘curfew-like’ state of affairs particularly in the course of the night time hours, thus deterring criminals from participating in crimes they usually would. “No one dares to step out (especially at night),” stated a senior police officer from Dhubri district in the western a part of the state. “Our district had a high crime rate, but post lockdown, this has decreased. Of course, a couple of petty crimes have been reported,” he added.

Guwahati: People stand in a queue sustaining social distancing to purchase greens from a vendor carrying them in a van, throughout a nationwide lockdown in the wake of coronavirus pandemic, in Guwahati on April 29, 2020. (PTI Photo/File)

The image is analogous in Nagaon district too. “The crimes involving big groups such as highway robbery, money snatching, drug-related crimes and murders have all come down. Road accidents have reduced by 7%-10% in the district,” stated SP Abhijit Gurav.

In neighbouring Manipur, Ok Meghachandra, the police in-charge of Imphal West district, confirmed to that the police station which covers elements of the state capital has recorded no FIRs of homicide, assault or accidents for the reason that lockdown started. This is in distinction to a median of not less than two instances that the police station recordsdata each day. “The bright side of the lockdown is that the city is much calmer. Crimes is almost zero and the environment is also improving,” stated Ok Meghachandra.

Police officers in Telangana are heaving a sigh of aid as they seen an nearly 60 per cent drop in crime fee in the state in the course of the lockdown interval. Official knowledge confirmed 16,942 instances being registered in the state between March 22 and April 22 in 2019. But this 12 months, solely 6,923 instances had been registered in the identical interval. Similarly, this 12 months, a complete of 159 deadly and 296 non-fatal highway accidents had been reported in the one-month interval. But final 12 months, highway accident statistics hovered a lot larger: 550 deadly and 1,199 non-fatal accidents.

As lockdown puts cap on liquor sales, withdrawal issues could become new headache for government Hyderabad: Police personnel sporting protecting masks, in wake of coronavirus pandemic, stand guard close to Charminar throughout Friday prayers amid nationwide lockdown, in Hyderabad, March 27, 2020. (PTI Photo/File)

Rachakonda police commissioner Mahesh Bhagwat informed, “Most cases registered these days are related to lockdown violations, manufacture of fake sanitisers or adulteration of food and sale of liquor.”

Suicides and casualties on practice tracks have taken successful too. “We record around 40 suicides on railway tracks across Telangana every month. But now that passenger train services are not operational, only six deaths have been recorded on train tracks in April,” stated an official of the Satya Harishchandra Foundation, which ensures cremation of unidentified our bodies.

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At the identical time, an official in-charge of Hyderabad company authority issuing demise certificates stated folks have been discovering it troublesome to bodily strategy the workplace and undergo a tedious course of when there are extreme restrictions on the motion of the general public in the course of the lockdown.

Between March 25 and April 27, the authority issued 132 demise certificates which had been uploaded on-line. In distinction, January and February noticed 3395 and 2138 demise certificates being uploaded on-line. “Once a death is reported in a hospital or house, it will be manually recorded in the ward office and the death certificate is issued after 10 days. The data is entered online only after the kin of the deceased approaches the municipal circle office. During the lockdown, many people would not have been able to go through this tedious process,” an official stated.

One of the sectors naturally hit the toughest by the palpable fall in the mortality fee is funeral companies. In Bengaluru, George Vincent of St Peter’s Funeral Undertaker confirmed the issue. “Before the Covid-19 outbreak, we used to manage at least eight funerals on an average per day, which has now reduced to a maximum of three in a day,” he stated.

To make issues worse, his 45-member employees has dwindled all the way down to 20 as a number of of them stop their jobs voicing considerations concerning the security of their work at a time like this. “Even though we have a set system in place including verification of the police certificate and the death certificate from the hospital to ascertain the cause of death, our workers are worried whether we will be asked to handle any coronavirus-related death without us knowing the truth.”

In Guwahati, Jayanta Barua, who manages town’s Navagraha Crematorium, stated deaths as a consequence of highway accidents have understandably come down. “Before, we would get at least 10 accident-related deaths in a month. Now, we hardly have any.”

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