Just when Kozhikode has been basking in the glory of its recently earned India’s first UNESCO City of Literature tag, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) has named this coastal city in north Kerala among the nation’s top 10 safest cities.
Making the city the only one from Kerala in the category, Kozhikode, an aspiring metropolis, has been ranked 10th on the list recording 395.5 cases of cognisable offences per lakh people in 2022. Kolkata holds the title with 78.2 cognisable cases.
“Undoubtedly, it is a proud moment for law-abiding citizens and a well-deserved feather in the cap of law enforcement agencies for curtailing crime rates and providing a sense of security,“ Thottathil Raveendran, two-time Mayor of Kozhikode and legislator of Kozhikode North, said.
The NCRB covered 19 prominent cities, examining the number of offences, registration of cases, arrests, filing of charge sheets, and completion of trials. In Kozhikode, grave crimes such as murders, rapes, violence against women, and atrocities against backward sections were fewer when compared to other cities.
District Police Chief (Kozhikode City) Rajpal Meena told The Hindu that this recognition was definitely a testament to community policing in democratic governance. “For years, we have been focussing on many unique projects aimed at improving the safety of women and children,” he added, while explaining the community-centric approach adopted to strengthen mutual trust and cooperation between citizens and the police.
At the heart of Kozhikode’s safety narrative lies the innovative Janamaithri Suraksha Project, a police-public participation initiative to fight crime and improve the security of the neighbourhood. This apart, several pioneering efforts such as the Student Police Cadet project, a school-based student development initiative by Kerala Police, implemented jointly by the Departments of Home and Education and Our Responsibility to Children, a mentoring programme for students which was later taken up by the Integrated Child Protection Scheme under the Department of Women and Child Development, has blazed a trail for others to follow.
An exclusive 20-hour self-defence training programme tailored for women and children has also been hugely popular and found to be a game-changer in reinforcing the need for women’s safety. “The cooperation of the citizens demonstrates their commitment to both quality education and cultural richness of Kozhikode city,” Mr. Meena said.
Various residents’ associations attest that the elderly-friendly and child-friendly policing schemes have set new benchmarks for community-oriented projects. “Field-level awareness programmes for countering substance abuse and an action plan for nabbing frequent offenders, with the support of a specially trained crime squad, have won wide appreciation in our urban communities,” said P. Jayachandran, a functionary of a residents’ association in the city.