The murder rate in India has seen a significant decline since the 1960s and has reached its lowest point ever. Even the absolute number of murders in 2014 was lower than 1992, which recorded the highest murder rate (number of murder per lakh population).
The data comes from the annual National Crime Records Bureau's publication, Crime in India.
In 2014, India witnessed 33,981 murders and 3,332 incidents of culpable homicide not amounting to murder. Combining the rate of the two crimes per lakh population gives the murder rate. For 2014, the murder rate was 3.0. In 2013, this number was even lower, at 2.98.
An even lower rate was recorded in 1970, when 16,180 murder and 2,357 culpable homicides gave a combined rate of 2.94.
The NCRB data, which was analysed from 1957, shows a steady rise of murder from the 60s to its peak in 1992, when the combined rate was 5.15 — double the level from 1957. However, since 1992 the rate has been steadily falling.
Even the state-wise comparison of data from 1992 to 2014 shows that the murder rate has decreased in 26 of the 32 states and UTs that existed then. ( To make the data comparable, 2014 figures of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Bihar and Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have been clubbed together).
In 1992, Uttar Pradesh saw 12,287 incidents of murder and culpable homicide not amounting to murder. It was followed by Bihar (5,743), Madhya Pradesh (3,753), Maharashtra (3,338) and Andhra (2841). In 2014, although the ranking has remained the same, the absolute rate of murders has fallen sharply in all these states, in some cases even halving since 1992.
Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand put together had 6,818 incidents, while for undivided Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, the number of incidents was 5,321 and 3,442 respectively. Even undivided Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh saw a steady decline.
Despite the fact that the population has risen by a few millions in each state in the last two decades, it does not evade the fact that even the absolute number of murder has halved since 1992. This presents a rather promising picture of the state of violence in society today.
I, for one, will sleep soundly knowing this.