Even as there are a hue and cry being raised about atrocities committed against foreign tourists in Goa, NCRB records indicate that the number of foreign nationals committing crimes in Goa has risen significantly over the years, with around 66 foreign nationals being arrested till date in 2019 itself. While the numbers for 2017 indicated 70 such cases, it rose exponentially with 126 registered against them in 2018. A detention center at Mapusa had now been set up just to lodge these criminals.
While there have been reports on increasing crimes committed foreigners in Goa, statistics reveal that an increasing number of foreigners have also been breaking the law. An international tourist destination, Goa receives over seven lakh foreign footfalls annually.
According to the Times of India, statistics from the Goa Police and National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) indicate that 262 foreigners have been booked or arrested for the period 2017 till date. This number is much higher than the 40 cases registered for crimes committed against them, out of which 12 were accidents.
A senior police officer speaking to this source pointed out that foreigners are often viewed as good tourists, but that perception has been changing with time several foreigners are involved in crime here.
According to cases registered, Goa Police indicate that from drugs to ATM thefts, foreigners have been involved in various criminal activities in the State.
In 2018, a Bulgarian national was arrested for attaching skimmer devices to two ATM booths. Similarly, four Russians who arrived in Goa on a tourist visa were arrested. One was arrested for cultivating cannabis and the other three for possession of narcotic substances. Foreigners were also accused of stealing a whopping Rs 9 lakh from the Arambol Bank of India ATM, using a gas cutter.
Speaking to the Times of India, Inspector General of Police, Jaspal Singh said, ”Most foreigner arrests pertained to drug cases.” According to Goa Police records, foreigners have been booked or arrested in cases pertaining to attempt to murder, rape, rioting, assault on a public servant, cheating, under Foreigners Act, immoral trafficking, possession, and peddling of narcotics and theft among other violations.
According to 2019 records to date, only nine foreigners have been victims of crimes, whereas 66 have been perpetrators. Of the nine crimes against them, four were involved in accidents. Records in 2018 reflect a similar trend with 126 foreigners involved in crimes, while only 15 were victims. The figures in 2017 show that 70 were perpetrators while 16 were victims.
Nationals from Iran, UK, Israel, Kenya, Russia Ghana, Tanzania, Germany, Nigeria, Sweden, Uganda, Nepal, Georgia, Italy, Czech Republic, Romania, Afghanistan, French, Jordan, Austrian, Turkey, South Africa, South Korea, Uzbekistan, Yemen and Ivory Coast were among those arrested between 2017 till date.
As the numbers of foreigners involved in crimes in Goa continues to increase, the State government recently in May opened a detention center for them in Mapusa. Three foreign nationals have already been lodged here.
According to this source, IGP Jaspal Singh had called for stricter screening of credentials of visa applicants. “In an interconnected and liberalized world, free movement of ideas, people, capital, technology, and tourists is the norm. Screening of visa applications is the means available to Indian mission abroad to ensure that people of dubious credentials do not gain access to the country,” he said while adding that “Nations are, however, supposed to respect reciprocal visa concessions granted to each other.”