Safe and sound? Not yet!

- March 11, 2022
| By : Asiya Zaidi and Nawaz Ahmed

Introduction of the commissionerate system in Noida and Greater Noida has improved relations between the public and the police but commuting in overcrowded transport is a major pain point for women who live in the area. 

Mid-February, we asked women living in Noida whether they feel safe compared to women in Delhi.

Here is what they said:

“I don’t feel safe in Noida because of it is an overcrowded place. Also, transport facilities are not helpful; I have to travel a lot in order to get to a metro station because there’s none near my place,” according to Sangeeta. 

She adds, “I have friends who have had some dreadful experiences while traveling in Noida at night.”

In contrast, Punita* said, “Now I have become accustomed to this environment of Noida because I have been living here for around 25 years therefore the news of looting, snatching, doesn’t bother me anymore.” 

“I feel safe in Noida and my family also feels safe. I have not faced any trouble while commuting,” Aditi, a bangle shop owner, said.

Looking at the figures released by Noida police, 12,609 cases were registered in 2021, around 3,500 more than the 9,130 cases registered the previous year. More than 1,200 related to crimes against women, including rape, dowry deaths, and trafficking, are pending at various courts in Gautam Buddh Nagar district. 

The police on their part say that more cases are reported and taken on record, which is why it seems that crime is rising, but it is not so.

“We are making women aware of the steps that they can take. In case of harassment, they can dial the number 112 in emergency, they can also contact the nearby Pink Booth. We remain in the main public market from 3 pm to 6 pm so as to make sure that no crimes of snatching, looting etc. happen,” a police official said.

However, an elderly resident says, “The biggest problem in Noida is that there is no sense of fear of police among the goons, so people drive recklessly, flout traffic rules and also incidents of chain snatching and eve-teasing are very common here”, a source said. 

A women’s empowerment programme ‘Mission Shakti’ was launched in the Gautam Buddha Nagar district of Noida by the UP government. The campaign was run for one week (October 17-25) in Noida and Greater Noida.

The purpose was to create awareness among women regarding their safety and the officials were asked to inform women about the helplines and UP Cop App and laws like POCSO Act etc.

KK Jain, secretary general of Federation of Noida Residents Welfare Association stated that tcrime has decreased after the commissionerate system came into effect.

“The police now frequently hold meetings with us and take security measures accordingly. Some gangs have been busted last year and as a result of it, we see fewer complaints of theft and robbery coming from the sectors. We feel that the police should expedite the verification process of tenants and domestic help.”

Noida’s 112 helpline received around 12,006 calls and the police response vehicle (PRVs) reached the spot in 6:09 minutes (average) in urban areas and 7:58 minutes in rural areas, shows police data.

A weak spot is public transport. A commuter on a Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) bus was allegedly sexually harassed by the DTC bus staff and when she confronted him, the harasser ran away and the security marshal did not even try to catch him. T

here are still instances where a police officer either refused to register a complaint or didn’t even bother to hear the plea of the victim. 

Punita added: “Public transport is not safe enough, it is often crowded and does not run according to the schedule. Limited commuting options and steep fares of reserved autos are the reasons why Noida women take the bus route risking their safety everyday with little or no sense of security.” 

Despite metro train connectivity, Noida struggles under a bad public transport system. In the absence of buses, autos and other cheap modes of transport, the city’s population mostly has to depend upon personal vehicles, E-rickshaw or cabs for last-mile connectivity. 

  1. A 55-year-old man was arrested on 2 February for allegedly raping and torturing two trafficked women inside his flat in Noida Sector-107. One of the rescued women was being tortured for the past four years while the other was brought to his flat seven months ago, the police said.
  2. The police arrested a 20-year-old man on 23 October 2021, for molesting a woman, and another 24-year-old was booked for stalking and criminal intimidation in Greater Noida.

Police say that they cannot really prevent what happens behind closed doors.

“In over 90% of rape cases, the perpetrator is known to the victims. Out of this, the accused is a family member or friend in 40% cases and a neighbour in 20%. The survivor is or was in a relationship with the rapist in 20% of cases,” a senior officer said.

Late at night, even travelling in your own vehicle becomes a hazard.

“Post 11 pm, the expressway turns into a graveyard where you will not be able to spot a single human to help you if you have a problem with your car or need urgent transportation. Loot, chain snatching and kidnapping cases are pretty common after midnight and hence even police who patrol here as much as possible do not advise people to take an uncertain journey on these roads”, a resident said.

*Names have been changed to protect identities

This report was written during an internship with Patriot

For more stories that cover the ongoings of Delhi NCR, follow us on: