At least in cyber crimes, the police can’t piggyback on the excuse of proactive policing to explain the increased numbers in the National Crime Records Bureau statistics.
The figures show a clear threat of the young generation precariously poised as potential offenders.
Kerala topped the list of under-18 teens arrested for being on the wrong side of the Information Technology (IT) Act in 2012.
NCRB report shows that 15 persons under 18 years of age were arrested from the State, followed by 13 from Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan and nine from Maharashtra.
The figures also show that 81 persons aged between 18 and 30 years were arrested from the State, 44 persons aged between 30 and 45 years, 11 persons aged between 45 and 60 years during last year for cyber crimes.
“There is definitely a lack of awareness among the youngsters about penal provisions in the IT Act. During interactions with school students, we have learnt that they get frequent chances to visit pornographic sites, mostly from their homes. Tighter surveillance on online activities of young people is the only way out here,” said N. Vinayakumaran Nair, Assistant Commissioner of Police, State Hi-Tech Cell.
The State witnessed an increase of 18.5 per cent in crimes registered under IT Act, as 269 cases were registered during 2012 against 227 cases in 2011 and there has been a major increase of 138.9 per cent in cases registered under IPC sections for cyber crimes. The number of crimes registered in 2012 increased to 43 from that of 18 registered in 2011.
Interestingly, out of the cases registered under IT Act in the State, 147 were for publishing or electronic transmission of obscene material, which is the highest among other States. Maharashtra came second with 76 cases. As many as 59 case were registered from the State for loss or damage to computer resource or utility, 16 cases for breach of confidentiality and privacy and 39 cases for hacking.
Among cases registered for offences under IPC, Kerala is tied at second position along with West Bengal with 31 cases for forgery while Maharashtra topped the list with 76 cases. Among cities, Kochi with 16 cases of forgery is in second position behind Mumbai with 63 cases.
The NCRB figures also gave an interesting insight into the changing mindset of the State as it said in 96 cases registered under cyber crimes, the motive was harassment of women, 48 cases were for committing fraud or illegal gain, 44 cases were for money and 19 for causing disrepute to others. Again, out of 312 persons arrested as suspects in cases for cyber crimes, 73 were neighbours, friends or relatives.
“This is the indicator of the changing moral values in our society. During a survey done for World Health Organisation among girl students in colleges five years ago, I learnt that 82 per cent of them have had sexual experiences. This along with graphic reporting of crime in the media, especially visual media, has affected moral safeguards,” said Dr. K.S. David, criminologist.