Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 4

COMMENTARY

Analysis of Juvenile Crime

Effects of State Apparatus

Malvika Tyagi

Crime committed by juveniles in India and the law pertaining to it has been the subject of debate and concern, primarily because of a perceived rise of violent crime and the proposal (and eventual amendment in 2015) of treating juvenile offenders involved in heinous crimes as adults. This evokes an enquiry into the various aspects of crime committed by juveniles, such as the trend of such crime over time, the socio-economic characteristics of juvenile offenders, and the role of the state in dealing with it.

Malvika Tyagi (malvika.tyagi@gmail. com) is a doctoral student of Economics at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi.

Economic & Political Weekly

EPW
EPW

DECEMBER 17, 2016

T he Apprentices Act, 1850 was the very first legislation pertaining to children which provided for the

rehabilitation of those in the age group of 10–18 years convicted for an offence. This was followed by the Reformatory Schools Act, 1897, and the Madras Chil- dren Act, 1920, Bengal Children Act, 1922 and Bombay Children Act, 1924. The Children Act, 1960 was the first central enactment in independent India relating to children which followed the United Nations Congress on the Preven- tion of Crime and Treatment of Offend- ers. It applied only to the union territo- ries, since the subject matter of juvenile justice fell under the state list of the Indian Constitution. The United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice were an opportunity as well as a compulsion for Indian Parliament to bring a uniform juvenile justice legisla- tion for the entire country (except for the state of Jammu and Kashmir). Hence, the Juvenile Justice Act came into being. It defined a juvenile as a boy as not having attained the age of 16 years and a girl as not having attained the age of 18 years. A delinquent juvenile was defined as a juvenile who was alleged to have committed an offence. Even though the Government of India had ratified the United Nations Conven- tion on the Rights of the Child in 1992, it felt the need to re-enact the existing law to bring in conformity this particular, as well as all other international instru- ments. This led to the enactment of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000. This act increased the age of majority from 16 to 18 (in the case of boys), a decision which has been partially reversed in 2015 by reducing the age of majority from 18 to 16 in cases of heinous crime. Although the issue of juvenile crime and the efficacy of the state in curbing it

vol lI no 51

has been debated in the last couple of years, there has not been, so far, a quan- titative analysis in the Indian context to bring out the relation between the two, keeping in mind the other plausible fac- tors that lie at the root of this socio-eco- nomic problem. This is what this article attempts to do. Figures 1 and 2 (p 18) show the trend

of juvenile crime over the last decade.

Juvenile crime has only slightly increased, both in absolute terms and as a percent- age of total crime, after the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 came into being. This means that the slight increase was on account of

a change in the definition of juvenile

crime (as now even those above the age

of 16 were considered juveniles). But, the

slight upward trend even many years after the act means that juvenile crime has increased generally over the last decade. This is further seen in Figure 3 (p 18), which shows the continuously in- creasing proportion of arrested juveniles over the age of 16. Looking at the socio-economic char- acteristics of delinquents, it is seen that mostly the school dropouts and ones belonging to the poorest of families comprise the highest proportion of those committing crime (Figures 4 and 5 [p 19], respectively).

Methodology

While panel data has been assimilated for assessing the response of juvenile crime to the state apparatus, the main purpose of using state-level panel data instead of all-India time series data, is to have a more robust result. While it would have been nice to have been able

to use data for a longer time period and

bring out any possible state/time-fixed effect impact, the lack of many control variables for a longer time period has impeded such an attempt. An ordinary least square (OLS) estimation 1 of juvenile

crime response to state apparatus 2 seems

to be well suited, given the short time

span and the minimal variation in the variables at hand. The number of crimes committed by juveniles (juvenilecrime it ) has been de-

fined as a fraction of juvenile population (in the age group 15–18 years) that has

17

COMMENTARY

Figure 1: Number of Juvenile Delinquents (in lakh) 2.5 2 1.5 1
Figure 1: Number of Juvenile Delinquents
(in lakh)
2.5
2
1.5
1

0.5

0

1990

1992

1994

1996

1998

2000

2002

2004

2006

2008

2010

2012

Source: Constructed by author using data from the National Crime Records Bureau.

Figure 2: Percentage of Total Crime Committed by Juveniles 1.4 1.2 1 0.8 0.6
Figure 2: Percentage of Total Crime Committed by Juveniles
1.4
1.2
1
0.8
0.6

0.4

This is more so because it is rare for juve- niles to commit crime without an adult accomplice, as observed in Tyagi (2016). The third explanatory variable is the strength of police personnel as a pro- portion of the population of a state. It is important to control for other relevant variables, such as development indica- tors (Human Development Index [HDI], sex ratio, gross enrolment ratio, per- centage of Scheduled Caste population,

child labour), and others, such as power deficit, corruption, etc, which may have an effect on the juvenile crime rate. This is to ensure that the variation in juvenile crime rate is not the result of some unac- counted exogenous variables, especially as strong correlations are observed between them and juvenile crime. The following equation is estimated:

juvenilecrime it = β 0 + β 1 convictedjuve- niles i(t-1) + β 2 adutsarrested it + β 3 police it + β 4 [Control Variables it ] +u it

where i is the ith state, t stands for the year, and u is the error term.

0.2

Data Sources

Panel data comprising 13 states from 2003 to 2007 is compiled. The dependent variable is computed from the annual publications of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). The three explanatory variables—juveniles convicted, adults arrested and strength of police person- nel—are also obtained from the annual publications of the NCRB. Data for the con- trol variables—income, youth unemploy- ment, sex ratio and percentage of Sched- uled Caste population—are obtained from the census and/or the National Sample Survey Office’s quinquennial reports. Data for gini coefficient, HDI, and child labour are obtained from Nayak et al (2010), Human Development Report 2009, and the Ministry of Labour and Employment, respectively, and interpolated. Data for corruption indicators, transmission and distribution losses, and power deficit (an indicator of the efficiency of a state) are obtained from Indiastat. 4

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999 2000

2001

2002

2003 2004

2005 2006

2007 2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Source: Same as Table 1.

Figure 3: Age Group-wise Percentage of Crime Committed by Juveniles

70

60

50

40

30

20

10

0

Juveniles apprehended, 16–18 Juveniles apprehended, 12–16 Juveniles apprehended, 7–12
Juveniles apprehended, 16–18
Juveniles apprehended, 12–16
Juveniles apprehended, 7–12

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Source: Same as Table 1.

been apprehended for committing crime. 3 The age group-wise population data only contains the category 15–19 years. It is better to use “apprehended” instead of “convicted” as a large proportion of cases remain pending when, at the same time, the acquittal rate is very low. The state apparatus comprises three variables. The first is one-period lagged values (to rule out simultaneity as well as

18

possible ratio bias) of the log of convicted juveniles (convicted because their incar- ceration time, unlike adults, is too low, so the demonstration effect is only expected to show up upon conviction). The sec- ond is adults arrested (not convicted, because disposal of adult cases is much slower than for juveniles, so the demon- stration effect of adult punishment is captured well enough by the arrest).

80

0

Results

The statewise data shows that Maha- rashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan have the highest juvenile crimes, followed

DECEMBER 17, 2016

vol lI no 51

EPW
EPW

Economic & Political Weekly

COMMENTARY

Figure 4: Number of Juvenile Delinquents by Educational Status

16,000 Primary Above primary but below matriculation 12,000 Illiterate 8,000 Matriculation or above 4,000 0
16,000
Primary
Above primary but below matriculation
12,000
Illiterate
8,000
Matriculation or above
4,000
0
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013

Source: Same as Table 1.

Figure 5: Number of Juvenile Delinquents by Income Groups

30000 30,000

25000 25,000 20000 20,000 15000 15,000 10000 10,000 5000 5,000 0 0 2001 2002 2003
25000 25,000
20000 20,000
15000 15,000
10000 10,000
5000 5,000
0 0
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013

Up to ` 25,000

Upto Rs.25000

Rs.1 lakh to Rs.2 lakh

` 1,00,000 to ` 2,00,000

Rs.25000 Rs.1 lakh to Rs.2 lakh ` 1,00,000 to ` 2,00,000 Rs.25,001 To Rs.50,000 Rs.2 lakh

Rs.25,001 To Rs.50,000

Rs.2 lakh to Rs. 3 lakh

` 25,001 to ` 50,000

` 2,00,000 to ` 3,00,000

` 50,001 to ` 1,00,000 Above ` 3,00,000 Above Rs. 3 lakh Rs.50001 to Rs.1

` 50,001 to ` 1,00,000

Above ` 3,00,000

Above Rs. 3 lakh

Rs.50001 to Rs.1 lakh

Source: Same as Table 1.

Table 1: Linear Regression

Dependent Variable: Juvenile crime Prob > F=0.0000; R-squared=0.82

Coefficient

Robust Standard Error

t-statistic

P value

Convicted juveniles(t–1)

-0.00335***

.0018

-1.85

0.071

Adults arrested

0.00017**

.000

4.87

0.000

Police

-12.54*

5.16

-2.43

0.019

Per capita income

6.88

.000

.56

0.579

Youth unemployment

.005*

.001

-3.43

0.002

Gini urban

4.741

3.446

1.38

0.177

Gini rural

13.401*

5.834

2.30

0.027

HDI

.440

.189

2.33

0.25

Corruption

.013

.009

1.29

0.204

Child labour

4.261

4.091

-0.10

0.918

Sex ratio

.040

.036

1.11

0.272

Note: Number of observations = 64. **

* Significant at the 5% level;

Significant at the 1% level;

by Gujarat and Haryana. Kerala, Punjab and West Bengal have some of the lowest recorded juvenile crimes. It is seen that a higher gini coefficient (rural), high incidence of child labour and a high corruption indicator (using the conventional transmission and dis- tribution loss as proxy) seem to corre- late with increased juvenile crime, and negatively correlate with a higher gross enrolment ratio, sex ratio and per capita

*** Significant at the 10% level

income of a state. If taken together, these variables continue to have the depicted effects on the dependent vari- able, although only a couple of them (sex ratio and gini–rural) remain sig- nificant. I chose to use them only as control rather than as explanatory vari- ables because they involve the exercise of interpolation due to lack of data (although, since the time period is short, and these variables are slow

Economic & Political Weekly

EPW
EPW

DECEMBER 17, 2016

vol lI no 51

changing by nature, this should not be of much concern). As can be seen in Table 1, convicted ju- veniles and police strength have a dis- couraging (negative) effect of 0.003% and 12% respectively, while adult arrests have a positive effect (all variables are in logs). The discouraging effect of past convic- tions may not entirely be indicative of deterrence, and may partially be a result of the incarceration effect, that is, those

who are prone to recidivism are now confined in juvenile homes, unable to commit crime. The relatively large role of the police in curbing crime is suggestive of the need to increase police visibility. The fact that adult crime might be influenc- ing juvenile crime, as indicated by a posi- tive relation between the two, however little the influence, is a disturbing fea- ture and is also borne out in my ongoing fieldwork. An increase in gini coefficient (rural) and youth unemployment seem to increase juvenile crime, while it seems to be unrelated to the other control vari- ables, but that is not surprising given the

short time span studied in this case.

Concluding Remarks

Although reported juvenile crime rate in India is not very high, it has been on the rise over the last decade, with those 16 years or more in age comprising well over half of the delinquents in total. The largest proportion of recent juvenile offenders is of those who have finished primary school, and dropped out after that, reaf- firming the observations of Tyagi (2016). Until a few years back, the largest pro- portion of juvenile offenders was of those who were in primary school, which is in line with the “concentration aspect” of schooling (Jacob and Lars 2003), wherein the increase in poten- tially “volatile interactions” as a result of geographical concentration overshad- ows the “incapacitation effect” of school (engaging in constructive activities). The fact that an overwhelmingly large proportion of offenders belong to the poorest of families speaks volumes of their vulnerability in falling prey to crime, and debunks the dismissal of de- linquents as merely psychologically dis- turbed, or depraved beings, without any socio-economic disability.

19

COMMENTARY

Some socio-economic indicators used

as controls in this article, such as youth unemployment and gini coefficient, have

a statistically significant positive impact

on juvenile crime, but their interpolated nature and the short time span in this particular study gives only a weak result. There seems to be some evidence of the potential of the state apparatus’s deterrence on juvenile crime, but with caveats. Given that police density turns out to be important in curbing crime, the fact that both geographically as well as

in terms of per capita, it is rather low in most states, is worrying. Even though conviction of juveniles seems to curb crime (although minimally),

it could be the case that a good proportion

of juvenile offenders are prone to recidi-

vism, which means that the fall in crime is merely an affect of incarceration, as habit- ual offenders are held up in juvenile

20

homes. Moreover, there is the question of imperfect information. If potential delinquents are not well-informed of the consequences of their actions, or act on impulse, or are emboldened by virtue of being in the company of adults, then the extent to which conviction can curb future crime is small. The positive relation be- tween the number of adult and juvenile offenders brings out the “schooling as- pect” of crime, wherein it is in the com- pany of potential adult offenders or even repeat offenders that juveniles may be engaging in crime, as also reflected in my earlier article (Tyagi 2016).

Notes

1 Since the nature of the data is that of a panel, a natural question that arises is why the fixed effects or the random effects technique is not used. This is because fixed effects will not work well with data for which the within-cluster variation is minimal, or for slow-changing var- iables over time, which is the case with this data. The rationale behind the random effects

model is that, unlike the fixed effects model, the variation across entities is assumed to be random and uncorrelated with the predictor or independent variables included in the model, which is unlikely to be the case here.

2 Inspired from Steven D Levitt (1998), who uses

a similar methodology to measure the impact

of punishment on juvenile crime.

3 Levitt (1998) also uses another definition of ju- venile crime, the fraction of total arrests that comprise of juveniles, multiplied by total cog- nisable crime. But, as he himself admits, this might lead to a simultaneity and a ratio bias, a problem I want to avoid.

4 http://www.indiastat.com.

References

Jacob, B and L Lars (2003): “Are Idle Hands the Devil’s Workshop? Incapacitation, Concentra- tion, and Juvenile Crime,” American Economic Review, Vol 93, pp 1560–77. Levitt, Steven D (1998): “Juvenile Crime and Pun- ishment,” Journal of Political Economy, Vol 106, No 6, pp 1156–85. Nayak, P K, S K Chattopadhyay, A V Kumar and V Dhanya (2010): “Inclusive Growth and Its Regional Dimension,” Occasional Papers, Re- serve Bank of India, Vol 31, No 3. Tyagi, M (2016): “Understanding Juvenile Crime:

Notes from the Field,” Economic & Political Weekly, Vol 51, No 2, pp 23–25.

DECEMBER 17, 2016

vol lI no 51

EPW
EPW

Economic & Political Weekly