If we take the different age groups of persons arrested in three years (1996 to 1998), we find that on an average 2.6 per cent were below 18 years, 51.6 per cent belonged to 18-30 years age group, 38.4 per cent belonged to 30-50 years age group and 7.4 per cent were above 50 years of age (Crime in India, 1998: 266).
Thus about half of the offenders were young (18-30 years). The data on age structure of offenders as given in Crime in India are incongruent to youth offenders, i.e., offenders in 16-25 years age group. Therefore, we interpolated the percentage of offenders in the age groups of 16-21 years, 21-25 years, and 25-50 years. The calculated figures are given in Tables 11.1, 11.2 and 11.3.
The above figures point out the following characteristics of crime by youth (i.e., between 16-25 years age group):
1. Crime by youth in India is serious inasmuch as the youth commit about 40 per cent (41.1% in 1998) of the total crime (under the IPC and LSL together). This comes to about 6,962 crimes a day or about 290 crimes per hour.
2. The ratio of crimes by the youth under the Indian Penal Code to crimes under the Local and Special Laws is 1: 2.8, establishing the fact that the youth crime is not so serious in its nature.
3. The ratio of felonies (murder, rape, kidnapping, burglary, dacoity) to misdemeanours is 1: 2 3.
4. The volume of crimes against persons is about three times the crimes committed against property (1: 3.09).
5. The volume of crimes by 'adults' (in 25-50 years age group) is about 20 per cent more than those committed by the 'youth' (in 16-25 years age group).
Young people naturally have their problems. That is a feature common to all epochs but today’s youth problems involve crimes. Juvenile crime, in other words, is portrayed as a function of economic class, parental neglect, narcotic addiction, boredom, unemployment and the abundance of alcohol.
Not long ago a friend of mine, a hard drug addict, was sent into a mental hospital. Another teenager was accused of murdering his alcoholic father. In Imphal, police recently caught some young professional sex workers. And again recently, a 15 year-old high school boy was committed suicide after fighting with his parent. Besides many juvenile crimes involving guns such as threatening the people to collect money and burglaries can be found in our everyday newspapers.
These examples illustrate the disturbing new faces of the youths in India. The problem of youth becomes vicious when it involves bizarre crimes such as murdering parent, adolescent pregnancy and minor prostitution which are never happen before in our society. No doubt juvenile crime wave now comes to our society also. It is neither the generation war nor the western influence. The juvenile crime seems to come naturally when there is certain defect in the society.
Some surveys have measured the correlation between adolescent crime and family problems. "Ten times as many juvenile delinquents come from an atmosphere of vulgarity or heavy drinking as from a normal environment", a criminologist said.
In our locality there are many boys of my age who dropped out of school before the 10th standard. Many of them come from broken families. They don’t believe in ethics. They live "the free life", drank, and stole neighbor’s good, bicycle and motorcycle.
There are many youth like them in our today’s society of India .Unfortunately, the government and the society do not concerned for the welfare and amelioration of those unfortunate youths. Instead of uplifting them, people cut them off from their society so called "good" and treat them as "bad" and call them "garbage". Everybody seems to forget that in future their places in "the good society", as they named, will be replaced by them. Though the caste system has almost completely abolished from the entire nation, the...