Delhi accounts for 22 percent of all crimes against senior citizens among 19 metro cities with a population of more than 2 million.
Delhi: The capital saw a surge in crimes against senior citizens in 2019 according to the Crimes in India 2019 report published by the National Crimes Record Bureau (NCRB). The report said Delhi recorded 1076 crimes in 2019 as against 753 crimes in 2017, i.e. a 46 percent raise. Between 2017 and 2018 a marginal rise of 27 crimes was seen.
Dr. Raman Sharma (62) said, “In today’s scenario, senior citizens living alone is a scary scenario. People who do such crimes are often keeping a check on who lives alone and when they leave their houses.” She has been living in her house alone for the past 14 years and said that she feels supported by her neighbors; they maintain a family-like atmosphere.
However, Dr. Sharma said, “I have stopped seeing patients after dark. Given my age and my gender, I don’t want to step out of my house at night. It’s for my own safety.”
Saubhagya Bahl (74) said, “I usually don’t open my door until I recognize who the person is. I make it a point to go to bed by 9:30 pm and (post that) I don’t open my door for anyone.” Given the number of rising crimes a person is bound to feel unsafe, she added.
Retired Addl. Commissioner of Delhi Police, Vinay V. Chaudhary said that given children are not living together with their aged parents, both the society and the system have not taken over to help them. People think that senior citizens are easier to take advantage of since they are frail and aged, he added.
A 2016 study by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation reported that Delhi has about 11.5 lakh elderly people which is about 6.8 percent of Delhi’s total population, while the whole country has about 103 million elderly people, i.e. about 8 percent of India’s entire population. Since these numbers rely on the 2011 census, actual figures could be higher. The same report also shows an increase over the years in the percentage share of the elderly population.
The NCRB report also said the rate of crime against senior citizens in Delhi state is 93.8, which is the highest in the whole country. The rate of crime is calculated as crimes per one lakh of population. After Delhi, comes Gujarat with 85.4 and Madhya Pradesh 73.2.
A police official said, “Senior citizens are being neglected by everyone. This negligence has caused them to feel insecure.” This insecurity is reflected in the number of suicide cases and attempted suicides according to them. NCRB data showed that around 11,000 senior citizens died by suicide in India in 2019.
The Delhi Police Senior Citizen Cell is responsible for the safety and security of senior citizens. They monitor and help registered senior citizens with their personal problems. Currently, the senior citizen cell has around 38,000 senior citizens registered with them. In 2019, around 4000 senior citizens registered with the cell.
Dr. G.P. Bhagat, the founder of SHEOWS, an NGO that works with senior citizens, said that we need to also talk about the type of crimes against senior citizens that happen inside their houses. Some children abandon their parents; some seniors leave because of the torture they face at home.
Dr. Bhagat mentioned that “While we have the necessary laws in place, it is the responsibility of the society. (Rising Crimes against senior citizens) can be fixed through a social revolution.” Apart from this, he added, “The senior citizen act needs a bit of reform; this act only applies to those who can go to a police station and file a complaint. This doesn’t address the problem for those who are differently-abled, or are patients of dementia or Alzheimer’s, he said. “The act needs to have special provisions for such people,” he added.