As in most other States and countries, a clear pattern to the types of crimes committed in the State is beginning to emerge. What is indeed very distressing about the crime scerio in the State is that in more than 90 per cent of the cases, the accused are known to the victims. In other words, crimes like rape are committed not by strangers but often by people known to the victims and possibly often introduced to others as friends. Also, such crimes are committed by people to whom appeals for help might have been made had the crimes been committed by others. This constitutes a serious blow to the very notion of trust on which all civilized societies depend a lot. We have a situation where no one can be completely trusted even if the person has been known for many years. On the contrary, such a person is likely to take advantage of an acquaintanceship merely because the element of trust makes it easier to commit certain crimes. Another very disturbing fact is that most of the victims of heinous crimes are people of the age group of 18 to 35 years—the most productive period of any person’s life.
The other significant facet of our changed crime scerio is the sudden rise in crimes involving public order and economic offences. This could be due to three important reasons. One is that such crimes are not classified as heinous crimes like murder and rape. The other is that people tend to be sympathetic to those who have committed economic offences because they are inclined to believe that the government’s laws and rules are much too rigid and that they compel people to break them in order to survive in trade and business. Yet another reason is that the punishment for economic offences is generally much lighter than what is in store for those convicted for heinous crimes. In any case, what is alarming is that people’s views on economic offences should veer towards not regarding such offenders as having committed any crime at all.