Rashi Aditi Ghosh/Zee Research Group
The latest report by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) has shown a surprising trend differing from the widely accepted norms that children in poverty are the most vulnerable and soft targets of criminal gangs and goons. Various reports released earlier have shown that low family income is a major determinant of protracted stress and behavioral problems in children.
However, the NCRB report Crime in India 2013 shows that not only poor but children from well-to-do families are also getting involved in criminal activities.
While this may be surprising, it holds true that juvenile delinquency amongst children belonging to privileged families have increased by 150 per cent in 2013 as compared to 2011.
While 240 juvenile delinquency cases were reported from families with annual income of Rupees 3 lakh and above, 626 cases of juvenile delinquency were from families with annual income of Rupees 2-3 lakh.
Even though the NCRB report shows that number of children in crime is higher in families with lower income, the rate of involvement in criminal activities is growing higher among children belonging to family with upper and upper middle income groups.
As a matter of fact Andhra Pradesh reported highest number of juvenile delinquents in the privileged family group category in 2013. Likewise, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra had the highest delinquents in the underprivileged family category.
In stark contrast to what is common perception, NCRB’s chapter on juvenile delinquency shows that children living with their parents and guardians are more likely to commit crime as compared to homeless ones.
While 35,244 children living with their parents committed crimes in 2013, in comparison just 2,462 homeless children committed crime in 2013.
In 2013, NCRB reported 12,288 incidences of juvenile crime, i.e. 1.3 per cent higher than the figure reported in 2012.
The report also shows that most of the juveniles were involved in crimes like theft, hurt and rape cases in 2013. While 6,386 cases of theft were committed by children in 2013, 4,902 cases of hurt (Sections 323-333, 335-338 of IPC) were committed by children in 2013.
In 2013, number of rapes committed by children reported an increase of 60 per cent as compared to 2012.