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Check cyber crime raging in Bengaluru

The high incidence of cyber crime in Bengaluru, as reported by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), is a matter of serious concern. According to its report for 2022, the country as a whole saw a spurt of 25% in cyber crime from the previous year. Nineteen metro cities saw a huge jump of 42.7% in cases related to cyber offences. About 75% of these crimes took place in Bengaluru and that makes the city the country’s cyber crime capital. Bengaluru reported 9,940 cyber crime cases of the 13,534 reported from across 19 metro cities in 2022. Because of the lead provided by Bengaluru, Karnataka tops in the number of cyber crimes. Information Technology Minister Priyank Kharge has said that the state, on an average, lost Rs 1 crore a day to cyber crime in 2022.

The authorities in Bengaluru have claimed that the city is high up on the cyber crime scene because it is also India’s cyber capital, with a high concentration of IT professionals. They argue that the city’s position also reflects a high level of cyber law awareness, prompting better reporting. But this is an untenable argument. Hyderabad, a major IT hub, reported only 282 cyber crimes in 2022 as against 9,940 in Bengaluru.

Bengaluru has other dubious distinctions, according to the report. It has recorded the highest number of narcotics cases, in addition to cases related to prostitution, dowry harassment and rash and negligent driving. The second positions in these categories go to different cities but Bengaluru remains in the top position. When the city leads the country in crime, the situation needs to be taken seriously and addressed effectively. One worry is that the trend is only increasing. In the case of cyber crime, the city has already recorded over 9,000 cases till the end of November this year. Apart from improving policing infrastructure, it is imperative to spread awareness and improve digital literacy. There is a high pendency of cyber crime cases in courts, and the conviction rate is low. Demands have been made for the setting up of a central cyber police force and special courts for quick investigation and disposal of cyber cases. Since cyber transactions are steadily increasing, it is the responsibility of the law enforcement agencies, banks, and other financial institutions to ensure that transactions are done safely and securely, and frauds are brought to book quickly.

(Published 12 December 2023, 22:39 IST)

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