File Copyright Online - File mutual Divorce in Delhi - Online Legal Advice - Lawyers in India

Urbanization and Increase in Crime

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 crimes.

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:
  1. Poverty:
    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 crime.
  2. 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 crimes.
  3. Politics:
    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.
  4. Religion:
    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 vandalism.
  5. Background:
    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 family's maintenance.
  6. Society:
    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.
  7. Unemployment:
    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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.

How urbanization affects crime rate:
  • 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 Bureau.

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 below:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 initiatives.

    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.
  4. 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 provisions formulated.
  5. 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 the situation.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.  Written By:
  1. Harshit Agrawal and
  2. Himani Sharma

Law Article in India

Ask A Lawyers

You May Like

Legal Question & Answers

Lawyers in India - Search By City

Copyright Filing
Online Copyright Registration


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi Mutual Consent Divorce is the Simplest Way to Obtain a D...

Increased Age For Girls Marriage


It is hoped that the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which intends to inc...

Facade of Social Media


One may very easily get absorbed in the lives of others as one scrolls through a Facebook news ...

Section 482 CrPc - Quashing Of FIR: Guid...


The Inherent power under Section 482 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (37th Chapter of t...

The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in India: A...


The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is a concept that proposes the unification of personal laws across...

Role Of Artificial Intelligence In Legal...


Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing various sectors of the economy, and the legal i...

Lawyers Registration
Lawyers Membership - Get Clients Online

File caveat In Supreme Court Instantly