Demand for a particular consumerist lifestyle and unequal distribution of means to achieve them is driving youth towards crime in the country, especially in megapolises such as Mumbai, say city's criminologists and sociologists, adding that affluence and education are no antidotes to crime.
Vijay Raghwan, associate professor with the Centre for Criminology and Justice at TISS, said there is disparity in the society, which is driving more youngsters to crime to attain their aspirations.
“It is assumed that crime is related to poverty and unemployment. However, in contemporary society, where the traditional social control mechanisms such as family and community have loosened and people are leading more atomised lives, people tend to adopt any means, often criminal, to attain their goals,” said Raghwan.
Dr Sarla Bijapurkar, retired associate professor with the sociology department at Somaiya College, said the youth are unable to cope with the constantly developing society.
“With a more materialistic mindset amongst the current youth, they do not care about the repercussions of their actions before taking steps that would bring them closer to their ends,” said Bijapurkar.
“Even in the case of this 13-year-old boy who was kidnapped and murdered, the accused simply wanted the money to pay off his debts. He was so focused on the end that he did not rationalise the means.”
Dr Dayal Mirchandani, a psychologist, said, “I think that rebellious, abusive behaviour is on an increase with more and more youngsters indulging in gambling, drug abuse, and other anti-social behaviour. The tendencies are identifiable when they are children and can be rectified if there is awareness about mental health.”
“If you look at most developed countries, their crime rates are higher than developing ones. The US has a much higher crime rate than India. With the urbanisation of society, especially in a capitalist framework, crime tends to be higher,” Raghwan added.