Children, Crime, NCRB, Stories

Data: More Than 75% of Juveniles Apprehended for Crimes in 16 to 18 Age Group; 99% Are Boys


Data from the NCRB indicates that between 2017 and 2022, close to 90% of juvenile crimes registered were under various sections of the IPC. Theft & Hurt dominated the crime categories. Further, more than 75% of the juveniles apprehended for various crimes were in the 16 to 18 years age group while 99% are boys.

In the first story on Juvenile crimes, we looked at the issue of Juvenile Delinquency, the factors contributing to it, and the trends in the number of Juvenile crimes, in the context of the Porsche Car incident in Pune.

In this story, we look at the number of different types of cases registered against Juveniles, the number of them apprehended, and the limitations in the pertinent data maintained by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).  

The data for the story is sourced from Dataful, which has curated and made datasets of data published by NCRB on Juvenile crimes in its yearly Crime in India reports. 

NCRB Data on Juvenile Crimes and Apprehensions is Inconsistent and Incomplete

As mentioned in the previous story, the NCRB only collates and publishes the data provided to it by States/UTs on Juvenile Crimes (JCs) and Juveniles Apprehended (JAs), and therefore, it does not assume responsibility for the authenticity of this information. Further, the data published is incomplete and inconsistent for the following reasons.

The JCs data published by the NCRB covers numerous crimes registered under approximately 42 different types of legislation. However, with the exception of crimes registered under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the NCRB does not provide data on specific types of crimes under specific legislation. For example, the NCRB separately records types of crimes under IPC such as murder and trafficking, by maintaining data on the number of crimes registered under each of these categories. The same method is not followed for other legislations, including significant like the Excise Act, Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (PoCSO) Act, etc. For these approximately 41 other legislations, known as Special and Local Laws (SLL), only the total number of crimes registered under each legislation is recorded, without specifying the type of crime registered under each legislation.

Additionally, the NCRB does not categorize the number of JCs by age group and gender, a pattern it follows for recording the number of JAs. Conversely, the data on JAs is not categorized by the specific crime committed.

These significant gaps in the data make it incomplete and inconsistent, highlighting the need for comprehensive reporting.

Between 2017 & 2022, about 90% of JCs registered are under IPC

Between 2017 and 2022, the number of JCs under six legislations — namely the IPC, PoCSO Act, Excise Act, Prohibition Act, Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, and Arms Act — accounted for more than 100 crimes each year. Cumulatively, a total of 189,540 crimes were registered under both IPC and SLLs, with IPC crimes alone constituting 168,721 crimes, or 89% of the total. Each year from 2017 to 2022, IPC crimes consistently represented the highest share, ranging from 87% to 91%. However, the overall number of IPC crimes decreased from 30,909 in 2017 to 26,686 in 2022, while SLL crimes increased from 2,697 to 3,984 during the same period. Following the IPC, cases registered under the PoCSO Act totalled 9,308, making up 5% of the total juvenile crimes from 2017 to 2022. The cases under PoCSO increased significantly from 794 in 2017 to 2,356 in 2022. The crimes under the other four legislations mentioned above contributed less than 1% of the total crimes each year.

Notably, crimes under the Juvenile Justice Act (JJA), decreased from 97 in 2017 to 12 in 2022.

Theft and Hurt constitute over 50% of the JCs registered under IPC

As previously mentioned, the NCRB publishes data on IPC crimes committed by juveniles, categorized by type. From 2017 to 2022, the crimes of theft and hurt (including grievous hurt) accounted for 44,474 and 35,576 incidents, representing approximately 27.8% and 22.3% of the total juvenile crimes, respectively. These were followed by criminal trespass/burglary, rape, and assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty, with 14,059, 7,695, and 7,165 incidents, making up 8%, 4%, and 4% of the total crimes, respectively. Notably, theft, hurt, criminal trespass/burglary, rape and assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty consistently ranked first, second and third, respectively, each year from 2017 to 2022.

Rash driving crimes ranked eighth cumulatively, with 6,176 incidents, accounting for 4% of total crimes; however, these crimes have decreased from 1,239 in 2017 to 865 in 2022. Murder and attempt to murder ranked eleventh and seventh, respectively, with 6,232 and 4,979 crimes, representing 3.9% and 3.1% of the total crimes.

75% of Juveniles Apprehended are in the age group of 16 to 18 years

Similar to JCs, the number of JAs decreased by approximately 10% from 35,419 in 2017 to 31,910 in 2022, with a total of 194,774 apprehensions over the period. The trend in JAs by types of crimes mirrors the trend in crimes registered. The highest numbers of JAs were for theft, hurt, and criminal trespass/burglary, with 53,857, 42,225, and 18,715 apprehensions, respectively, accounting for 27%, 21%, and 9% of the total apprehensions. Following these were apprehensions for murder, robbery, and rape, with 8,517, 8,639, and 6,609 each constituting around 4%, 4%, and 3% of the total apprehensions, respectively.

The NCRB categorizes JAs data by different age groups: below 12 years, 12 to 16 years, and 16 to 18 years. From 2017 to 2022, the majority of juveniles apprehended were in the 16 to 18 years age group. Cumulatively, a total of 46,057 JAs were in the below 12 to 16 years age group (24%), 146,966 were in the 16 to 18 years group (75%), and 1,751 were in the below 12 years group (1%). This distribution remained consistent each year within the period.

Juvenile Girls Apprehended constitute to below 1%

When compared by gender, the total number of boys, girls, and transgender individuals apprehended from 2017 to 2022 was 193093, 1678, and 3 respectively. Girls accounted for less than 1% of the total apprehensions each year, while boys comprised about 99%, both annually and cumulatively.


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