Changing psychology of crime in India
With sex-related crimes on the rise, the changing pattern of crime has created an alarming situation that disturbs public order, writes Gyan Pathak
Psychology of crime in India has been changing at a very fast pace outsmarting our overall crime control strategy. The strategy we adopt always becomes outdated in the changed situations in the society. The government and its agencies responsible for controlling crime tend to stick to the older strategies despite the changed scenario, resulting in their failure.
Though the data in the annual report 2017-18 shows only a minor increase of 0.9 per cent in Indian Penal Code related crimes in 2016, compared to the previous year, the changing pattern of crime has created an alarming situation that disturbs not only the law and order but also public order.
Offences affecting human body had decreased by 8.5 per cent with the decrease in offences like murder, dowry deaths, grievous hurt, injuries under rash driving, and human trafficking. However, the changed pattern of crime shows the highest increase of 62.4 per cent under unnatural offences, followed by attempt to commit rape (29.1), attempt to commit culpable homicide (23.0), rape (12.4), attempt to commit murder (6.9), kidnapping and abduction (6.0), causing death by negligence (4.3), assault on women with intent to outrage modesty (2.8), and culpable homicide not amounting to murder (0.9). Incidents of cruelty by husbands or his relatives, and insult to the modesty of women, however, showed a decreasing trend.
It is clear that sex-related offences are increasing at a very fast rate, which needs special attention of lawmakers, criminologists, sociologists, and educationists. Simply making stringent laws, such as we have recently seen in the ordinance relating to rape, is not sufficient to deal with the epidemic of sex-related crimes. The government's approach to making provision for death penalty for rape is ad-hocism aimed at expediency. We need a pragmatic shift in the strategy of controlling such crimes. We need to curb those activities that promote sexual urge in human beings to the extent of it becoming a crime.
Offences against the state have registered 21.1 per cent increase. Offences against public tranquility have decreased by 4.9 per cent, but offences of promoting enmity between different groups increased by 12.7 per cent. However, it is a good sign that the incident of rioting and unlawful assembly has reduced despite an increase in promoting enmity between communities in the name of caste and religion.
We had only two per cent increase in offences against property. Criminal trespass and burglary, robbery, dacoity, preparation for dacoity, criminal breach of trust, and cheating have decreased but there was an alarming increase in arson by 15.3 per cent, extortion by 9.2 per cent and theft by 5.7 per cent. Counterfeiting and forgery of documents have decreased, while other IPC crimes increased by 10.5 per cent.
Crimes under special and local laws showed a 5.4 per cent increase. Incidents under women related acts, such as dowry prohibition, immoral traffic prevention, protection of women from domestic violence, and indecent representation of women prohibition, and Sati prevention decreased. However, we have a phenomenal rise in the criminal incidence under special laws relating to children. There was 173.5 per cent rise in prenatal diagnostics, 11.3 per cent in child marriage, and 54.6 percent under Juvenile Justice (care and protection) Act. It shows that our children have become most vulnerable to all sorts of crime, even more vulnerable than women.
There was a sharp decrease in incidents against scheduled caste and scheduled tribes, but a sharp increase of 233.3 per cent in breaching the official secrets, along with 17.9 per cent rise in damage to public property was registered. There was also a rise of 4.4 per cent under Arms Act, and 12.2 per cent in Explosive Act.
Crimes under Information Technology have increased by 7.1 per cent. Liquor-related crimes have also increased – 2 per cent under prohibition and 15 per cent under excise. There was a decrease of 3 per cent in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substance-related crimes. Gambling has increased by 14.5 per cent, electricity theft by 31.1 per cent, crime against wildlife by 3.6 percent, and water pollution by 10 per cent.
There was 140.5 per cent increase in crime under Emigration Act, and 168.4 per cent under Citizenship Act.
Indian Railways suffered 7.5 per cent increase in crime under Indian Railways Act. There was an increase of 39.1 per cent in bonded labours, 213.5 per cent under Antiquities and Art Treasures Act, and 19.7 in insult to national honour.
Crime against Scheduled Castes under IPC have increased by 9.6 per cent. Among such crimes, the highest increase was of attempt to commit rape, which rose by 100 per cent. All crimes except dacoity and arson were on the increase. Murder rose by 11.2, attempt to murder 34, grievous hurt 6.4, assault on women to outrage her modesty by 13.3, insult to the modesty of women by 39.7, kidnapping and abduction by 24.5, rape by 9.2, riots by 17.7, and robbery by 34.9 per cent. Total atrocities against them increased by 5.5 per cent.
IPC crimes against Scheduled Tribes increased by 5.1 per cent. The highest increase of 158.3 per cent was under insult to the modesty of women. There was a decrease in murder but 5.7 per cent rise in attempt to murder. Increase in assault on women to outrage modesty was 2.1 per cent, kidnapping and abduction 31.5, rape 2.3, riots 7.5, robbery 11.1, and dacoity 50 per cent. Total atrocities against STs rose by 4.6 per cent. As for crime against women, abetment of suicides rose by 10 per cent, causing miscarriage without women's consent by 755.6 per cent, death from causing miscarriage by 941.7 per cent, acid attack by 21.2 per cent, kidnapping and abduction by 8.8 per cent, rape by 12.4 per cent, attempt to commit rape by 29. 1 per cent, unnatural offences by 352.8 per cent, and attempt to outrage modesty 2.8 per cent. There was 17.4 per cent increase in sexually explicit material.
Total crime against children rose by 13.6 per cent. Infanticide rose by 2.2 per cent, foeticide by 48.5, kidnapping by 30.6, trafficking by 53.8, selling minor girls for prostitution by 9.9, unnatural offences by 53.2, and sexual offences by 141.5 per cent.
(The views expressed are strictly personal)