Poverty drives them to go against the law

Lack of supervision of children leads to an increase in the number of budding criminals

It's easier for a slum dweller to get into trouble with the law. Poverty and lack of supervision of children lead to an increase in the number of budding criminals.

Children living in overcrowded homes in slums have little access to recreational facilities.

Delhi Police have begun reform campaigns to keep tabs on criminals and prevent more people from the slums from entering the world of crime.

“Slums by and large across the world gradually become hubs of crime. Children early in their life are exposed to abuse, abject poverty, exploitation and discrimination,” Ranjana Kumari, Director of Centre for Social Research told Deccan Herald.

“Over a period they become hardened and seeing the prosperous neighbourhood, their aspiration to earn money leads them to crime.”

They drift to petty thievery or worse forms of misconduct. “Youngsters learn about the evil side of life too early and get involved in criminal activities,” she said.

In the Capital, the highest delinquency and crime rates are in slum areas. This is where Delhi Police have begun reform programmes, aimed mainly at young people.

“Not all people living in slums are criminals. But those who are involved in crime are on our regular watch,” said Taj Hassan, joint commissioner of police (central range).

“The local police in the slums have been directed to check and keep a tab on people involved in crime. Many reform programmes at the slums have also been initiated,” he said.

Police have also launched week-long Art of Living programmes in coordination with voluntary organisations.

“We are also conducting lots of mass awareness programmes about drug abuse,” said Sanjay Kumar Jain, deputy commissioner of police (crime and railways).
Another focus area is child abuse in slums.

“We are organising classes for people in slums on protecting their children against all forms of abuse, exploitation and discrimination. The kids too participate in such programmes, where they are told to raise their voice against any abuse they face,” said Jain. 

Street plays are organised in slums to make people aware about problems and solutions to issues relating to the family. “For women and girls, we held a fortnight-long self-defence training camp,” added Jain.

Delhi Police believe that such programmes prevent a lot of slum dwellers, especially kids, from becoming criminals. They have also organised sports and recreational activities in slums.

 “We often send female beat constables to visit women in slums, and interact, motivate and solve their problems,” said Jain.

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