Accidents, crime rate drop during COVID-19 lockdown

Thiruvananthapuram: The COVID-19 lockdown has affected every sphere of life and caused several changes across various sectors in Kerala. The dip in air pollution and fewer instances of accident and robbery are some of the significant changes reported after the lockdown was imposed more than a month ago.

Accident/crime: A significant fall in the number of road accidents and criminal activities was reported during the lockdown period. The obvious reason being that people are staying indoors. Even the criminals seem to be lying low. No instance of girls being abducted was reported during this period.

A total of 181 people had died in 1,460 road accidents from March 25 to April 6 last year. Only 15 people died in 97 accidents during the same period this year.

No cases were registered as per the Arms and Explosives Act from March 25 to 31.

Other criminal cases have also declined from March 25 to 31 when compared to the same period last year - murder (33.33 per cent), attempt to murder (72.73%), rape (73.68%), robbery (50%), cheating (83.3%), sexual assault (92.31%) and, harassment by husband and in-laws (90.48%).

Cases as per the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act reduced by 85.43 per cent, while Abkari cases saw a drop of 93.64 per cent. Other offences were reduced by 86.01 per cent.

However, more crimes were reported in March 2020 than in March 2019. This becomes evident while including the data before the lockdown was imposed on March 24.

Electricity: The daily power consumption in the state during summer is 8.5 crore units. However, a drop of 2 crore units was noted daily during the initial lockdown days as the business and commercial establishments were shut. The Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) suffered a loss of Rs 15 crore due to this. With the temperature rising and several commercial establishments resuming work, the dip in power consumption is now at 1.5 crore units.

The hydroelectric stations in the state are not generating much power. Currently, the dams have 40 per cent of water. This was saved for power generation during the summer. If the state receives heavy rain, the dams will have to be opened.

Fuel: The fuel prices have nosedived with most vehicles and buses keeping off the roads. Only 5 per cent of diesel sales are reported compared to earlier. A 30 per cent sale of petrol is reported as bikes and other small vehicles are plying.

Internet: A surge in internet usage was reported as many people opted to work from home. The BSNL mobile data consumption was 591 terabyte (TB) in the state on January 1. This rose to 673TB within few days of the lockdown.

Air: The air pollution has reduced with the vehicles keeping off the roads. The air quality index in Kozhikode on March 19 was 63, 107 in Kochi and 51 in Thiruvananthapuram. By April 16, it became 43, 49 and 33. The air is said to be clean when the air quality index drops below 50.

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