After the rural cybercrime police station was formed in November 2020, only 97 cases have been registered so far. In 2021, as many as 47 cases were registered and the number of cases declined to 28 and 22 respectively in 2022 and 2023 (so far).Whereas, in the city cybercrime station the cases were 2,888 in 2020 and it increased to 4,352 in 2021, 5,970 in 2022 and nearly 4,000 cases so far this year.
Thiruvananthapuram range DIG R Nishanthini, said registering a smaller number of cases does not mean that cybercrimes are fewer in the rural areas, but it reflects so many factors. “People in the rural areas are less encouraged to move legally against fraudsters. Lack of sufficient skills to probe cybercrime is another concern and we are in the process of capacity building,” said Nishanthini.
She said the cyber wing in the rural areas is being strengthened by providing adequate training as part of the state-wide efforts to revitalise the force. “Probing cybercrimes is not easy like in murder or other crimes. It needs certain skills, and the force must be fully equipped. We are empowering the team not just to strengthen the probe, but also to encourage the public to register cases when they are duped by fraudsters,” added Nishanthini.
Meanwhile, the conviction rate in the cases registered is high in rural areas when compared to the data available in the city areas. Of the total 97 cases registered, the rural cyber police could dispose of 49 cases with a conviction rate of 50%. Only 48 cases are currently being probed by the rural police.
The solved cases include, the Rs 65 lakh fraud in which a Nigeria-based gang snatched the money from a man residing in the rural limit. Police could arrest the accused in connection with the case. Most of the cases registered in the rural limit include cheating people offering jobs, products etc and also through other online frauds. Whereas in the city areas, conviction rate is abysmally poor as only in less than five percent of the cases accused were traced.