No sign of rape, torture of women and murder abating

There is no sign of severe crimes including murders, rapes, and torture of women abating in the country. According to police, 3,028 murder cases, 5,202 rape cases and 11,037 cases of violence against women were registered in 2023. That means more than eight killings, 14 rapes and 30 incidents of violence against women took place a day.

Other crimes including robbery, kidnappings and smuggling were also on the rise, according to the crime statistics that police headquarters compiled based on cases registered in all police stations across the country over the past three years.

A review of the data showed more than 3,000 murders took place on average every year over the past three years. Ninety more cases were filed in 2023 than the number of cases lodged in 2022 while 186 more cases were registered during the coronavirus pandemic in 2021 than the number of cases filed in 2023. Several gruesome killings took place during the pandemic, in which family members or relatives were involved.

The number of rapes also became a matter of concern. More than 5,000 rape incidents occurred in 2023 and 6,032 incidents in 2022. People concerned said social degradation and pornography contribute to the growing number of rapes and sexual violence.

The scenario of women torture is also shocking. A total of 11,037 cases were filed in 2023 and over 12,500 cases in 2022. Child torture has been on the rise over the past three years as more than 2,500 incidents took place in 2023 and 3,205 incidents in 2022.

Though acid attacks dropped significantly in the country due to various government and private initiatives, 10 acid-throwing incidents occurred in 2023, 11 in 2022 and 12 cases were registered in 2021.

Three types of crimes on the rise

An analysis of police data showed robbery or dacoity has been on the rise over the past three years with 971 incidents being reported in 2021, 1,128 incidents in 2022 and 1,227 incidents in 2023.

Section 391 of the Penal Code states “When five or more persons conjointly commit or attempt to commit a robbery, or where the whole number of persons conjointly committing or attempting to commit a robbery, and persons present and aiding such commission or attempt, amount to five or more, every person so committing, attempting or aiding, is said to commit "dacoity".

Unlike dacoity, a robbery takes place when less than five people conjointly commit crimes as described in section 391 of the Penal Code.

A total of 463 kidnapping cases were filed with various police stations in the country in 2023, which is three more cases than the previous years. Police statistics showed kidnappings have been on the rise over the past three years and some of these incidents shook the country. A university student, Hasibur Rahman was abducted on his way to Sherpur from Dhaka on 26 December last year. He was rescued in Tahirpur, Sunamgajnj on 24 January. Kidnappers took him to the Meghalaya border area and tortured him for ransom. Five people were arrested in this connection.

A total of 2,500 smuggling cases were filed in 2023, which is 214 more than the previous years. Sources said gold and various goods are being smuggled via roadways and airways. Gold is mostly smuggled via Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka, Shah Amanat International Airport in Chattogram and Osmani International Airport in Sylhet.

Replying to a query on why these types of crimes are on the rise in the country, superintendent of police (media and public relations, police headquarters) Imamul Haque to Prothom Alo crimes rise sometimes and drop sometimes. Besides, people get involved in crimes when social bondage weakens because of the lack of moral values, as well as family disputes. For this reason, crimes including kidnappings increase. Besides, the number of smuggling cases rose because more smuggling attempts are being busted, he added.

Highest number of cases under narcotics act

According to the police statistics, less number of cases related to theft, speedy trial, robbery, acid attack and Narcotics Control Act were filed in 2023 than the previous year. A total of 89,809 cases were filed in 2023, 96,622 cases in 2022 and 92,809 cases in 2021.

A maximum of 76,481 cases were filed under the Narcotics Control Act alone in 2023, which were 82,672 in 2020 and 79,675 in 2021.

A total of 11,958 theft cases including 2,483 burglary cases were filled in 2023 and 12,801 cases in 2022.

More crimes in Dhaka

According to the police statistics, the highest 25,049 cases were registered over various rimes in Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) areas in 2023. The scenario was similar in the previous year as 28,749 cases were lodged in DMP areas in 2022. The lowest number of cases – 1,350 – was registered in Rangpur Metropolitan Police in 2023.

Police data showed a total of 195,436 cases were filed across the country in 2023, which were more than 200,000 in 2022 and over 197,000 cases in 2021.

Former inspector general of police (IGP) Nur Muhamamd said it is necessary to appoint professional officer-in-charge (OC) at police stations to curb crimes.

He told Prothom Alo on Wednesday night that the appointment of unprofessional police officials will not subdue and control crimes. When a good OC is appointed at a police station news spreads fast to the criminals and then, stealing, mugging, robbery and smuggling will normally come under control. On the other hand, if officials maintain good relations with criminals, crimes will take place, he added.

This report appeared in the print and online editions of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten in English by Hasanul Banna