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Catching 'em young, literally

Worried over the growing involvement of juveniles in criminal activities, Delhi Police will now track school dropouts. It will also arrange counselling for the juveniles and their parents.

delhi Updated: May 23, 2011 01:02 IST
Faizan Haider

Worried over the growing involvement of juveniles in criminal activities, Delhi Police will now track school dropouts. It will also arrange counselling for the juveniles and their parents.

The southwest district police - where 81 juveniles have been apprehended in 51 cases so far, this year, against 93 arrests in 2010 - has written to schools in the area to provide a list of dropouts to them.

The police, after identifying potential juvenile delinquents, will contact their parents, so that they don't enter the world of crime. There are over 100 schools in the southwest district and a majority of them are in Dwarka. According to the police, the involvement of juveniles - in all types of crimes, including murder, snatching and robbery - has increased as they cannot be put behind bars.

In the southeast district, too, police have found criminals giving children correction fluid and then asking them to commit crimes. "The involvement of juveniles in crime is a disturbing trend. At this stage, if we could stop them from becoming habitual offenders, it would be of great help to society. Most juvenile delinquents we have arrested are school dropouts," said A K Ojha, DCP (southwest).

"We have asked schools to give us lists of such students, so that we can contact them," Ojha added. In the recent murder of a beat constable in Dwarka, a juvenile was involved. In most cases, criminals are using juveniles instead of committing crimes themselves.

"Most of them are 14 to 17-years-old and if we don't take preventive measures - once they become adults - they continue committing crime. That's why we have planned to arrange counselling for the parents of school dropouts," Ojha said. "There are gangs in Uttar Pradesh which identify such minors and lure them to commit crime," he added.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the southeast district police is also organising a camp for over 1,000 schoolchildren to instruct them about the harmful effects of sniffing correction fluid. According to the police, correction fluid is the most commonly-used drug among children, with most of them sniffing the solution.

"In many cases, criminals are luring kids by giving them correction fluid and asking them to commit crimes. The juveniles are mostly used for crimes involving snatching," said Ajay Chaudhry, additional commissioner of police (southeast).