The rape of a young woman in a taxi is another reminder of Delhi’s reputation as India’s most unsafe city, a reputation only partially borne out by facts.
Official police data comes from the National Crime Records Bureau (whose data until 2013 came with one important, hidden caveat).
The number of reported rapes in Delhi more than doubled between 2012 and 2013 in the aftermath of the December 16, 2012 gangrape, a phenomenon the police attribute to better reporting. (The far bigger leap was in the reporting of molestation). As of mid-November this year, 1879 cases of rape had been registered in the city, but the increase between 2013 and 2014 was far smaller.
How does Delhi do in comparison to other cities?
In 2013, the most recent year for which comparable data exists, Delhi did have a higher rate (proportionate to its population) of reported rape than Mumbai or Chennai, but cities in Madhya Pradesh do even worse.
In Delhi – as in the rest of the country – less than 5 per cent of alleged rape is by men not known to the complainant.
Moreover, the precise nature is complex, as The Hindu found in an investigation earlier this year. Two out of three cases, court records revealed, concerned parents criminalising the acts of consenting young couples and broken promises of marriage. Under 3 per cent involved rapes by strangers, and conviction was nearly certain in such cases.
What of rape that never gets reported? It is true that rape in India (for statistical reasons, Delhi is hard to disaggregate for this data point) is grossly under-reported as comparing the National Family Health Survey with NCRB data shows, but the vast majority of that sexual violence is by husbands.