22. Crime

Crime is an anti-social behaviour for which society lays down punishment. The activity for which the punishment is attached may be sinful but would not be criminal.
The definition of crime is summarised from two point of views:
i. Social points of view
ii. Legal point of view
Social point of view : As per
C. Darrow “Crime is an act forbidden by the law of the land and for which penalty is prescribed.”
Legal point of view : In the words of Barnes and Teeters, “The term ‘crime’ technically means a form of anti-social behaviour that has violated public sentiments to such a extent as to be forbidden by statue.” The definition excluded those anti-social activities which are prohibited by law.
Causes of crime
The main cause of crime are :
Physical development
Social Causes
The importent social cause of crime are under mentioned :
Broken Family : The broken family is the most prevalent factor in the present time. During earlier days there used to be a joint family and children were used to be controlled and supervised not only by their parents but also by grand parents, uncle etc. Now in modern age the things are changed. The family desire to live up their lives individually. Due to this factor the control and check on young girls and boys is not present in sufficient quantity which leads to criminal activity either due to want of money, adultery, abortion, miscarriage, prostitution and other undesirable practices are undergoing.
Absence of Social Control : The second social cause of crime in India is the absence of social control like panchayats in the village, lack of intimacy with neighbours etc. Briefly speaking during earlier days, the caste panchayats in the village used to keep control over the behaviour and conduct of the members of the caste and used to give severe punishment to the guilty person. Secondly, with better transport facilities the criminal can commit crimes and evade from them due to the available transport facilities. Thirdly, the social organisations no longer exist. Children have been deprived of sufficient love, affection etc. Fourthly, the intimacy with neighbours is also lacking.
In this way, the disappearance of the control of caste organisation is another cause of crime in India.
Defective Education : The other cause of crime is the defective education system. No ethical and religious education is imparted in the schools now. As a result, the young girls and boys do not able to learn the proper ethical attitude and raise their moral character. Instead, it has led to an increase in selfishness, disorderliness and insolence. Lastly, but very important factor is that student are not able to get the suitable employment leads to late marriage. All these causes tend to increase criminal activity.
Theaters : Theater is also one of the main cause for enhancing crime tendencies i.e. as through movies people learn many crime techniques, it stimulate the desire for wealth and comfort, sex and also shows the ways of attaining it illegally, so many other things are shown which adversely affect the society and opens the path to increase the crime.
Use of alcohol : The consumption of alcohol is one of the major causes of crime in India. Drinking is more prevalent among low standard of life from among them only the greatest number of criminals are coming. Drinking does not only affect drinkers but also the family members are diversely affected and thus incline towards crime. In this way, drinking increases crime both apparently as well as indirectly.
Restrictions on Widow remarriage: Although the widow remarriage is legally accepted but it is still looked down upon in society. Due to this a woman does not exterminate their sexual passions and these rather lie dormant in a corner of the mind and wait for suitable opportunity. Sometime widow who is pursued by men is entice to the path of veil and sin by many threats and coaxes. Hence, it leads to problems of adultery, miscarriage, infanticide suicides of women, etc.
Defects of the marriage and dowry system : In India the dowry system also is the social cause of crime. It persuades father to earn money through illegitimate means, to prompt girls sometimes to suicide so not to degrade the conditions of their parents, further encourages late marriage, both in girls and in boys etc. All these also lend to increase sex crime in society. Generally, the parents do not care to ask the girl or boy for their opinion and sometimes even proceed against them.
Religion : Religion is also one of the main factor to increase the number of crimes. People inclination towards hatred for other religions leads to communal riots and crimes, such as looting, murder, to injure other religions, etc.
Change is social values : There has been a tremendous change in social values in recent time in India. Materialism, individualism, rationalism, craze for wealth, absence of sex restrictions, etc. are becoming very widespread in the country.
Hence, it become obvious from the above that how social causes leads to increment of criminals.
Economic causes
The main economic causes of crimes are the following :
Poverty : Poverty is the major cause of crime, in a country like India since a hungry man can go beyond any limit to appease his hunger.
Unemployment : It is also a major cause of crime in India other than poverty. Many young men commit suicides when they are frustrated by extreme poverty and unemployment.
Industrialization : It is also a significant factor of crimes in India. It has destroyed the family life of millions of labours. They work hard and live in towns far away from their families, work hard for eight to ten hours in the day, indulge themselves in drinking alcohol and prostitution and this encourage other crimes. Housing problem also have become the major cause in towns and cities to prompt crime tendency.
Urbanization : The crimes caused by Industrialisation are also caused due to Urbanization. Gambling dens, indecent theatres and wine shops provide means of spurious recreation. This further encourage crimes.
Thus, Economic causes affect are the causes which tremendously increasing the criminal activity in the society and the country as a whole.
Physical and Development Causes
Physical defects also turn a men into a criminal because due to these he lags behind his fellow beings in many respects and it is in order to remove this difference that he turns to criminal activity.
On the contrary, the physical development is also a factor other than physical defects. It is evident from the undermentioned examples :
The group of people lying in the age group of 16-30 admit the greatest number of crimes.
In old age rare and other sexual crimes increase in number.
Murderous crimes are generally committed by young men.
Girls who mature early are prone to become indulged in clandestine affairs.
Embezzlement, fraud, vagrancy, alcoholic excess and murder, etc., are peculiar to middle age.
Geographical causes
Many geographical causes also stimulate crime. According to some criminologists, in hot countries one finds more crimes against the person while in cold countries more crimes are committed against property.
Political Causes
Many political causes also encourage crime. Now-a-days many criminals are not caught red handed because they are white collar criminals who never come in the view of public i.e. they evade from all prosecutions due to their political hold and innocent persons are prosecuted and convicted in their place as a result they also become criminals. Crimes are further encouraged by the inefficiency, immortality and corruption of the police department.
To prevent crime…
The ways to prevent crime is to counteract the various causes that have been mentioned above. Some important suggestions are as follows:
Probation : Probation is the postponement, on a certain conditions, laid down by the prosecuting authority, of the punishment due to criminal by law. These individual are kept under the guardianship of a probation officer instead of being imprisoned. According to the Probation Act, 1938 of U.P. first offenders below the age of 24 who have committed crimes not punishable by death or life imprisonment may be placed on probation. Such probation is taken after the considerations of some important factors such as age, his way of life, his conduct, physical and mental conditions and others.
The probation officer performs the following functions for curing the criminal:

  • To keep criminals in his personal care.
  • To try to improve and reform criminals.
  • To compile the life histories of criminals and then try to trace their tendencies through them.
  • To provide help to criminals in getting employment.
  • To send pertinent information to courts regarding the criminals.
  • Solution of family problems of criminals such as solving domestic strife and contracting marriage of their daughters, etc.
  • To make efforts to make them good citizens by every possible method.
  • To send the criminals to prison once again if no sign of improvement is exposed by them.
  • Parole : Parole is also a means of reforming criminals. Under Parole the criminal is kept under the parole officer who maintains contacts, keep an eye on him and tries to reform him. Probation is more popular than parole.
  • Reformatories : This is another method to reform criminals which is gaining remarkable favour in all civilized countries. Reformatories are of the following two types:

(i) Juvenile Reformatories : The oldest of this kind of reformatories is in India. In this efforts are made to reform criminals by means of education, to make them successful citizens. All the criminals whether they are conferred life sentence or mere shortest prison.
(ii) Adult Reformatories : Only adults who commit specific kinds of common crimes are confined to these reformatories. They receive education in military discipline, physical exercise, religions, the principles of citizenship, etc. There are very few reformatories of this kind in India at present.
Borstal schools : Another means of reforming juvenile offenders is the Borstal schools. Only criminals between the ages of 16 and 21 are kept in these schools. Many such institutions are present in different states of India. Hence, the juvenile delinquents are educated and efforts are made to turn them into good citizens by providing adequate care.
Prison : Prison is a universally accepted means of preventing crimes and the last step in the reformation of criminal. Model prison has been recently being constructed at various places where they are provided all the required facilities. Many possible efforts are made to improve the criminals such as imparting education, engaging them in building a dam across the river, etc.

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