Children, Crime, NCRB, Stories

Data: NCRB Data Indicates that Crimes Committed by Juveniles Down 30% Between 2013 & 2022


Data from the NCRB’s CII report indicates number of reported crimes by juveniles decreased from 43,506 to 30,555 between 2013 and 2022 marking a 30% reduction in 10 years. Maharashtra & Madhya Pradesh top the charts.

In a recent incident on 19 May 2024 in the city of Pune, a Porsche car allegedly driven by a 17-year-old minor under the influence of alcohol struck and killed two motorists. The incident and its aftermath garnered significant national attention. The grant of bail to the alleged Juvenile (minor) on the same day of the incident under the Juvenile Justice Act (JJA) by the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) with a direction to write a 300-word essay led to widespread criticism, with the demands of cancellation of bail, along with several other demands. Although the JJB subsequently revoked the bail, the incident has highlighted significant issues regarding juvenile delinquency or offences by juveniles.

Against this background, in a two-part series examining juvenile delinquency, we look at the factors contributing to it, the legal framework surrounding it, and the trends in juvenile crime over the past decade.

Methodology and Notes

  • The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) publishes yearly data on the number of crimes committed by Juveniles in its Crime in India Reports. The same data curated by Dataful is used for analysis in the story.
  • The NCRB only collates and publishes the data provided by States/UTs on the crimes committed by Juveniles. Hence, it does not assume responsibility for the authenticity of the information.

Some factors leading to Juvenile Delinquency (JD)

According to the JJA, a Juvenile is defined as a person under 18 years of age. However, Juveniles aged 16-18 who commit heinous crimes, as defined by the JJA and the Indian Penal Code (IPC), may be tried as adults. This is contingent upon a prior assessment of their mental and physical condition by the JJB. This provision was introduced in response to the Nirbhaya incident which shook the nation.

The 2020 journal of Haryana Police notes that Juvenile delinquency, or juveniles in conflict with the law, is a serious and complex issue that cannot be resolved by legal measures alone. The journal attributes these as an outcome of various socio-economic, cultural, environmental, and political factors that remain largely unaddressed. It further details several factors contributing to juvenile delinquency, summarized as follows:

  • Rupturing Social Relations and Institutions: Juvenile delinquency is often linked to the home environment, familial relationships, and the socialization process during upbringing. Social relations and institutions which traditionally facilitate smooth socialization, are rupturing and floundering fast. This leaves young minds feeling lost and insecure in a fast-paced world.
  • Ongoing Rural to Urban Migration: Urbanization leads to anonymity and thereby gives greater space for children to experiment with delinquent acts, without the threat of detection.
  • Failure to Integrate Marginalized Groups: Social institutions’ failure to integrate marginalized sections of society often leaves these families unable to provide a supportive environment for their children, making them more susceptible to delinquent influences.
  • Economic Decline, Political Instability and Weakening of Social Institutions: Economic decline, Political Instability, and Weakening of Social Institutions such as the State, welfare schemes and institutions, etc. also lead to delinquency among Juveniles.

The journal notes that the problem of JD is multi-faceted and requires both comprehensive assessment and prevention strategies involving multiple perspectives and agencies. On the same lines, the UN guidelines on the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency state in their fundamental principles that “successful prevention of juvenile delinquency requires efforts on the part of the entire society to ensure the harmonious development of adolescents”

Porsche car incident shows multiple failures in Prevention, which resulted in the crime

The Pune incident shows multiple failures at various levels. The Porsche car, with an estimated price of about a crore or above, was unregistered as it is reportedly unnumbered. Further, the alleged Juvenile is 17 years old and is not legally permitted to drive. Additionally, the Juvenile was also allegedly drunk while driving the car which led to the killing of two motorists. On the same charges, the father of Juvenile, and the owner of the Black Club pub were arrested by the Police. Thus, the whole incident shows multiple violations of the law.

Even further, the alleged Juvenile hails from an economically affluent family. According to media reports, the Juvenile’s grandfather is allegedly linked to gangster Chhota Ranjan. It is also alleged that the grandfather threatened their driver to take the blame, warning of severe consequences if he refused. This situation underscores significant failures in family responsibility for proper socialization and upbringing.

Overall, the incident highlights multiple failures by both the family and law enforcement agencies in preventing this crime. Had appropriate measures been in place, the resulting fatalities and trauma could have been avoided.

Why are Juveniles offenders granted special protection?

Barring the failures in prevention, by Law, the Juvenile involved in the Porsche car incident is also held responsible.

The JJA stipulates that while dealing with Juvenile offenders, the appropriate governments and other agencies shall be guided by 16 fundamental principles, which include the principles of presumption of innocence of a child, family responsibility, positive measure and natural justice. These stipulate that while dealing with the Child (Juvenile) in conflict with the law, the appropriate agencies, including the judiciary, shall have to take into consideration factors such as the type of care, protection and nurturing of the child given by family, creating an enabling environment to reduce the child from falling to vulnerabilities, etc.

Therefore, the assessment of growth of child physically, mentally and emotionally is placed a vital importance. Since juveniles are not regarded as equal to adults in these aspects, they are granted special protections under the law. To this effect, JJA also stipulates that even while adjudicating the offences by Juveniles, the appropriate bodies are required to take into consideration the mental, physical and emotional capability of the child in conflict with the law.

Number of Crimes by Juveniles has reduced

Analysis of the NCRB’s data on crimes committed by Juveniles reveals a notable trend from 2013 to 2022. During this period, the number of reported crimes decreased from 43,506 to 30,555 marking a reduction of 12,951 crimes, which accounts for approximately 30% in 10 years.

Since 2013, the number of crimes committed by Juveniles has generally exhibited a downward trend, with occasional exceptions in 2016, 2019, and 2021. During these years, there was a marginal increase in reported crimes compared to the preceding years. Specifically, the number of crimes rose from 33,433 to 35,849 in 2016, from 31,591 to 32,235 in 2019, and from 29,768 to 31,170 in 2021.

The NCRB classifies Juvenile crime data into two categories: those committed in violation of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and those in violation of Special and Local Laws (SLL). Analysis of this data reveals a reduction in both categories over the period from 2013 to 2022. Specifically, the number of IPC-related crimes decreased from 38,765 to 26,571, while SLL-related crimes decreased from 4,741 to 3,984 during this period.

13 States have reported over 10,000 crimes each; Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra top with over 50,000 crimes in 10 years

Between 2013 and 2022, India has reported a total of 340,168 crimes by Juveniles. During this period, 13 states have each recorded over 10,000 cases, whereas 25 states and Union Territories (UTs) have reported fewer than 10,000 cases each. Notably, the northeastern states of Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Manipur, and Nagaland have each reported fewer than 1,000 cases. Assam stands out as the only northeastern state with a higher count, reporting 3,397 cases during this period.

Between 2013 and 2022, barring UTs, the central and western states of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra have reported significantly higher Juvenile crimes with 59,372 and 55,852 cases respectively. Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu follow with 24,386 and 24,301 cases.

Even when one normalizes the total number of crimes by juveniles per lakh of child population (excluding the UTs), the states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu rank among the top five states, occupying the 1st, 3rd, and 5th  positions with 206, 154, and 117 crimes per lakh child population respectively. Chhattisgarh and Haryana hold the 2nd and 4th positions with 205 and 127 crimes, respectively, while Rajasthan is in the 15th position. Notably, during this period, 13 states have reported a greater number of crimes than the national average of 76 crimes per lakh of child population.     

These statistics indicate that the states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu stand among the top 5 states in the number of crimes committed by Juveniles, whether in terms of the total number of crimes by juveniles or the crime rate of crimes by juveniles.

Significant increase in the Number of Crimes against Children

Previous articles of Factly (read here and here) revealed a stark rise in crimes against children from 2014 to 2022, with reported cases increasing from 89,423 to 162,449, marking an 81% increase. Most states witnessed an uptick in these crimes during this period. Conversely, the number of crimes committed by children decreased by approximately 30% over the last decade.


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