NEW DELHI - The number of rapes reported in New Delhi increased by nearly a third in the last year, police said Friday, highlighting the alarming levels of sexual violence against women in the Indian capital.
At an annual briefing with reporters, Delhi Police Commissioner Bhim Sain Bassi said that a total of 2,069 rape cases were reported in New Delhi in the 12 months leading up to December 15, against 1,571 reported the previous year, an increase of 31.6 per cent.
The city sealed its reputation as India's "rape capital" two years ago when a medical student died after being gang-raped on a moving bus, prompting mass protests and triggering a series of policing and legal reforms.
The figures were released the same day that an Uber taxi driver accused of raping a female passenger in Delhi last month made his second appearance in court.
Shiv Kumar Yadav, 32, was remanded in custody for another three days over the alleged December 5 attack.
But the police commissioner insisted the new figures did not necessarily indicate that the city was becoming more dangerous for women but rather highlighted a growing willingness of victims to come forward.
"More cases are being reported now as women feel more confident about approaching us," he told reporters, while adding that more still needed to be done to change attitudes and increase sensitivity about sex crimes.
"Both society and police's mindset needs to change for crimes (against women) to be reported and registered," he said.
Bassi said that police received another 36,284 complaints on other issues at women's help desks in the city's police stations, which have mostly been established in the recent years.
In the last two years, there has also been an increased emphasis on training officers to handle of rape cases as well as a drive to attract more female police recruits.
Bassi said that the city police solved 62 per cent of all crimes reported against women within a week.
"As for crimes against women, we are taking different steps including self-training classes for women," the commissioner added.