Number of serious crimes fell this Dashain, police sayPolice data show 21 minor incidents of crime were registered in the past two weeks in contrast to 773 in 2019 and 568 in 2018 during the festival.
As people leave the Kathmandu Valley for their hometowns in droves ahead of Dashain every year, the valley usually witnesses an uptick in the number of crimes, especially burglary and hooliganism. For the burglars, empty homes and apartments provide an opportunity to break into them and walk away with valuable goods. But this year, only a few such incidents were reported in the valley, a sharp decline from the numbers in previous years, police said.
Security efforts such as increased surveillance through CCTV cameras (Valley Police estimates over 10,000 CCTV cameras have been installed across the valley’s streets and alleys), police patrolling round the clock and awareness programmes are to be credited for the decline in incidents of crime, according to police.
Data from the Kathmandu District Police Range show that only 21 petty offenses were reported in the valley in the past 15 days—starting from Ghatasthapana, on September 26, till Kojagrat Purnima, on Sunday, which marked the end of Dashain this year.
While police said they don’t have the data of crimes during Dashain in 2020 and 2021, the rate had been on a downward trend in those years too, thanks in part to the fears of catching Covid.
The rate had seen an uptick in the years before the pandemic, according to police data. Crime rate had increased in Kathmandu by 36 percent during Dashain in 2019, with a total of 773 cases of crimes registered in the period that year. In 2018, police recorded as many as 568 cases during Dashain.
“There were not any big crimes that took place during Dashain this year,” said Senior Superintendent Dinesh Raj Mainali, who is also the spokesperson of the District Police Range. Installation of CCTV cameras in alleys and most of the households deterred thieves and burglars from committing crimes, Mainali said, adding that police were deployed round the clock and that also helped to keep the burglars at bay.
“Criminal incidents came down significantly this year, despite the increase in the number of people who had left the Valley to celebrate Dashain,” Mainali said.
The Kathmandu Valley Traffic Police Office estimates that over 2.2 million people had left the Valley to celebrate Dashain this year, a rise from about 600,000 in 2021 and 300,000 in 2020.
A total of 3,343 police personnel were deployed in the Valley starting from Ghatasthapana, which marks the beginning of the 15-day Dashain festival.
Despite police patrolling, however, incidents of noise pollution and quarrel involving drunk revellers continued unabated during this year’s Dashain as well, local representatives said.
“As ours is a core area, most of the people were indoors during Dashain, so we didn’t record any criminal activities, but police didn’t control the local bhattis [pubs] that opened till midnight,” said Yogesh Kumar Khadgi, chairperson of Kathmandu Metropolitan City’s ward 27, which encompasses areas such as Ason, Bhotahity and Kamalakshi. “This caused a disturbance in our areas. The police should have controlled it.”
According to police, security personnel were deployed on foot, on bicycles, motorcycles and vehicles for ‘seal and search’, ‘cordon and search’, picketing, ambushing and vigilance drives, and cross-checking operations.