TODAY -

Overview of Crime & Mental Disorder

Bramhacharimayum Sadananda Sharma *



One cannot deny the fact that our present society is facing a rapid surge of criminality and violence among both men and women. Violent crimes, includes all offences involving physical violence or threat, domestic violence, rape, murder, robbery, unlawful threat, molestation etc.

Among the criminals there are ample possibilities of silently suffering from mental disorders. Most of the recent findings indicate that many persons who suffer from mental disorders are also substance abusers which lead to the hypothesis that the criminality is associated with alcohol and drug abuse.

Crime is symptom or outcomes of numerous complex factors. The major causes of criminal behavior lie in the social processes and structures. Most of the people commit crimes due to the process of socialization that does not develop strong sense of right or wrong and due to the emerging opportunities, the extensive desires that act as strong motivation for taking to crime to fulfill these desires.

The origin of crime can be traced to interplay of various social, economic, demographic, local and institutional factors. Among various criminal the most dangerous are the one who are silently or unknowingly suffered from mental disorder and which is tough to distinguish as most of the offenders seems to be normal and healthy.

A researcher name SHEILAGH HODGINS (Department of Psychology, University de Montreal, Canada) after evaluating explanations of different criminality and criminal behavior of subject with mental disorders.

It is proposed that there are two types of offenders with mental disorders; the early starter which displays a stable pattern of antisocial behavior from a young age and the late starter begin offending only at about the time the symptoms of the disorder become apparent. Also those who developed mental disorders were found to have higher risk for criminality as compared to subjects with no such disorders.

The offenders with mental disorders committed multiple offences of all types. On the contrary among the non-disordered, the proportion of subjects beginning their criminal careers decreased with age and maturity.

According to an experiment conducted in Sweden (Swedish Metropolitan Project), males who eventually developed a disorder, one-third were registered for a criminal offence before the age of 18, another seven percent between the ages of 18 and 21 and 10% after the age of 18.

This pattern of age at first conviction is different from what was found for the non-disordered males where 18% were registered before the age of 18years, Seven percent between the ages of 18 and 21, and five percent after the age of 21.

It suggests that there are two groups of offenders with mental disorders; one group who began offending early before the symptoms of the mental disorder would have been present, and a second group who began offending in adulthood when the disorder is likely to have been noticeable.

Also as per the reports mentally disordered are not arrested for small offences, but they are arrested more often than the non-disordered because most of them behave aggressively and have the tendency to commit crime without hesitation more often.

In India crime rate registered per lakh population went up marginally to 385.5 in 2019 as compared to 383.5 in 2018. A total of 51.56 lakh cognizable crimes comprising 32.25 lakh Indian Penal Code (IPC) crimes and 19.30 lakh Special & Local Laws (SLL) crimes were registered in 2019. A total of 28,918 cases of murder were also registered during 2019.

Disputes (9,516 cases) were the motive for the highest number of murders during 2019 followed by ‘personal vendetta or enmity’ (3,833 cases). Crime against women registered a total of 4.05 lakh cases in 2019 which is 7.3% increases compared to 2018.

The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) 67th Edition of “Crime in India- 2019”, an annual report on crime of the year states that the primary presumption that the upward swing in police data indicates an increase in crime and thus a reflection of the ineffectiveness of the police is fallacious.

However, there are several reported cases where police personnel committing or involving in crime, smuggling of drugs, rape and assaults which is a clear sign of misuse of power and position. The tradition of corruption and favoritism inside the police department lead to the easy escape of many culprits and making their crime nexus stronger.

All these findings and reports show the importance of careful documentation and analysis of a person’s history of antisocial behavior or activities by family members, as well as friends, juvenile records, hospital records and police records. Any suspicious behaviour must seek for proper treatments and counseling which is a better solution before committing any severe crime or offences.

Preventing crime means working together with communities, learning about their problems, and designing unique solutions to these problems. A small delay in our part may give everyone a lifetime of pain and regrets.


* Bramhacharimayum Sadananda Sharma wrote this article for Imphal Times
This article was webcasted on December 03 2020.



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