Silver Bullet: Fighting Crime against Women

Crimes against women varies over a large range across the various states in India in terms of their rate of occurrence. This may have multiple reasons but it may also be complicated by the fact that poor law enforcement in poorly governed states may result in under-reporting of crime. But if we assume the NCRB data to be true, the distribution across various states of India is,


The states’ ranking in this is odd when one uses the prism of conventional wisdom in terms of advanced and backwards states.

A natural place one will want to look at next is police presence. Some Indian states have truly bad Police-Population ratios. Perhaps that’s a contributing factor. Another factor is number of police stations — perhaps a greater distribution of police stations as opposed to actual number of police personnel is a factor. An analysis of their scatter plots suggests these factors’ relationship with crime against women isn’t as strong as one’d expect them to be. Their respective scatter plots (with a regression line in red) are,

Police Station







The overall police presence as a ratio of population does seem to have some negative effect on crimes against women compared to police stations’ spread. But it’s not as strong as one’d expect.

Now consider the other factor: number women per police station in each of these states and female workforce participation in each state. Their respective scatter plots with a regression are,







These two factors, namely the presence of women in police stations and their participation rate in the workforce, seem to have a significant negative impact on the crime against women. The first factor is one of possibly bringing a female perspective to policing improving security. The other is that women who work outside their homes seem to actually reduce the likelihood of crimes against women.

A simple way to compare all of these factors will be to have a regression model that includes all the factors and measure each factor’s relative weight in the model. When one does that, the relative weights show up as,



Thus, the domineering factor as we see is presence of women in police stations. States that have more women in each station do better on preventing crime against women even if they have a worse overall police to population ratio. Consider two relatively advanced states for an example: Kerala and Maharashtra. While Maharashtra has fewer police personnel per every lakh of citizenry compared to Kerala, it has far more women as a proportion of it. The state of Maharashtra also records fewer crimes against women.

Of course none of this can be considered causal and under-reporting in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are likely to undo the above analysis. But a simple but effective strategy for states in fighting crime against women appears to be recruiting more women in their police force. And having more financially empowered women in the population.

[1] – Data on crimes against women was from NCRB

[2] – Data on Police Organizations was from BPRD

[3] – I have collated the data in a spreadsheet. Should you want it, please find it safety