How Prevalent are the Crime Rates in South Asia?

Assessing the crime rate in India

Submitted by Dr. Lincoln B. Sloas

In June, we celebrate Indian heritage month. In this issue, I take time to discuss the crime rate of the country of India. It is here we now turn.

Crimes do occur; however, they are rarely directed toward foreigners. New Delhi’s largest concern of crime toward foreigners continues to be the verbal and physical harassment of women. A handful of U.S. citizens reported incidents of verbal and physical harassment to the Embassy’s American Citizen Services. Although most victims have been local residents, attacks against female visitors in tourist areas underline the fact that foreign women are also at risk and should exercise vigilance and situational awareness.

Petty crimes (pickpocketing, purse snatching) are very common on public transport and roads. Theft of U.S. passports is also common, particularly in major tourist areas, on trains, at airports, and metro/train stations. Carry a photocopy of your passport and visa, but leave your passport in a safe place. Be aware of being bumped or pushed. Before entering an underground pedestrian crosswalk, be aware of who is around. Be alert for gangs of youths, con artists, and beggars, including handicapped persons.

Be wary of unexpected persons coming to your hotel room. Never open the door to unsolicited room service or maintenance people. Contact the front desk if you have any doubts. Leave valuables and important papers secured in your hotel's safe deposit box. Make sure that luggage is only given to a member of the hotel's bell staff and a receipt is issued for stored luggage.

If you schedule a meeting with a potential client, research the company and the individual with whom you are meeting. Meet in a public place.

When in a bar/restaurant, keep a close watch over your drink, and do not accept a drink from anyone you do not know/trust. Criminals often attempt to drug drinks in order to steal money and possessions. Tourists have also been given drugged drinks or tainted food to make them more vulnerable to theft, particularly at train stations. Even food or drink purchased from a canteen or vendor could be tainted.

Theft of financial information and #identity theft have become significant concerns. The diplomatic community has numerous instances of local bank accounts being compromised. Advance fraud or 419 schemes are common in India.

Lincoln B. Sloas, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida Atlantic University. His research interests include community corrections with an emphasis on how individuals navigate substance use treatment services and problem-solving courts.

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