Crime trends among the youth

Before assessing different patterns of crime committed by the youth, a clarification is warranted.

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).