- Official data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) show that the murder rate in India has been steadily declining over the past two decades.
- The murder rate (murders per lakh population) for 64 years (from 1952 to 2015) from the NCRB were compiled by the Clio Infra Project — a project which has collected worldwide data on social, economic, and institutional indicators — and The Hindu . Data show that the rate has declined from 4.6 in 1992, the peak year of violence (in terms of murder rate) to 2.6 in 2015. After a steady rise from 2.7 in 1952 to the highest rate witnessed in the early nineties — with the rate staying between three to four murders per lakh population in the eighties — we are back to low figures.
- Absolute numbers, however, are still high — 32,127 murders were recorded in 2015, which means 88 people were killed every day.
- Among mega cities, Patna turns out to be the least safe, having a murder rate of 11.3 — four times that of the national average in 2015. Meerut, Ludhiana, Faridabad and Agra come next. Kolkata, Kochi and Mumbai happen to be the safest, all having a rate of less than one murder per lakh population.
- However, the NCRB numbers are based on FIRs alone. Crimes for which FIRs are not registered are not accounted for in the official data. But unlike other crimes, data for murders are understood to be closer to reality as there is little incentive and possibility in under-reporting murder cases. Further, as compared with other crimes, murders are is less likely to pass unnoticed. A comparison with data from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), which pegs the Indian murder rate higher than that of the NCRB, after adjusting it for various factors.
- Further, data from UNODC reveals that the murder rate for India in 2012 (3.5) was almost half compared to the world average (6.2). Among 209 countries for which comparable data was available, India ranked 133 (higher rank means higher murder rate).
- In 2015, the major motive of murder was ‘Personal vendetta or enmity’ (4,758 cases), accounting for 14.8 per cent of the total murder cases followed by ‘property dispute’ with 3,540 cases (11.0 per cent).