New Delhi: Delhi witnessed an upward trend in the cases of crime under various categories for the third consecutive year in 2011 as it registered a four percent increase compared to the previous year, prompting police to earmark special measures to combat street crime besides strengthening anti-terror mechanism.

Though there was a dip in street crime like snatching and vehicle theft cases, heinous crimes were on the rise in the capital last year compared to 2010.

The number of cases reported in the capital rose to 53,353 from 51,292 in 2010, riding on an increase in cases of rape, molestation, attempt to murder and kidnapping.

While 2008 saw a decline in crime in the capital registering 49,350 cases, the next year saw a rise to 50,251.

The number of murder cases showed a decrease with the Delhi Police registering 543 murder cases in 2011 as against 565 in 2010. Murder cases were down by 4 percent and burglary by 6 percent.

City Police Commissioner B K Gupta sought to downplay the rise in the overall numbers saying crime per lakh population is normal. While 313.06 per lakh was the crime rate in 2010, it rose to 318.47 per lakh last year.

"It is the perception of what you or me think about crime in the capital. We can't really go by the numbers. It is what you see on the ground, the amount of work put up by the police force. Crime per lakh calculation gives the correct assessment of crime rate in a city and everybody does that," Gupta said.

Addressing the Delhi Police annual press conference here, he said the war against terror would continue to top the agenda of the force in 2012 along with continued action against street crime and priority on issues of women's safety.

In this regard, he said the Crime Branch and Special Cell of the Delhi Police would be strengthened further with "best officers" of the force being sent there.

Gupta said the force took a series of steps in the year gone-by to tackle street crime such as identifying crime hot spots and cracking down on criminals by deploying 155 Emergency Response Vehicles across the city.

Other priority areas for the police will be closer monitoring of police station functioning, interaction with RWAs and professional handling of complaints among other things.

He said 7,000 more criminals were arrested in 2011 as against 32,627 in 2010, which is an all-time high with picking up of criminals in all categories of crime like robbery, snatching, burglary and auto lifting showing an increase.

"Incidents of snatching have come down by 11.67 percent in 2011. In 2010, the number of snatchers arrested was 1,592 and in 2011 the number of arrests went to 1,770. Like wise, more number of auto lifters were arrested in the past year. A total of 3988 auto lifters have been arrested as against 3258 of 2010," he said.

This is for the first time in three years that the number of motor vehicle thefts has come down, he said.

Gupta said robberies have also come down by six percent in the capital in 2011 with 562 cases being reported as against the 2010 figure of 599.

However, there has been an increase in cases of dacoity, attempt to mirder, kidnapping for ransom and rape.

A massive crackdown on proclaimed offenders was launched in 2011 and 4347 criminals were arrested in 2011 alone, which is 172 percent increase of 1,597 arrests in 2010.

Gupta said 38 criminals have been arrested while 13 new proposals have been initiated under the stringent MCOCA.