(1) The industrial development and economic growth in India has resulted into urbanisation which in turn has given rise to new problems such as housing, slum dwelling, overcrowding, lack of parental control and family disintegration and so on. The high cost of living in urban areas makes it necessary even for women to take up outdoor jobs for supporting their family financially, with the result their children are left neglected at home without any parental control.
Moreover, temptation for modern luxuries of life lures youngesters to resort to wrongful means to satisfy their wants. All these factors cumulatively lead to an enormous increase in juvenile delinquency in urban areas. It has rightly been commented that today “there is no crime but there are only criminals in the modern sense of penology”. It is therefore, desired that the society be protected from offenders by eliminating situations which are conducive to delinquency.
(2) Disintegration of family system and laxity in parental control over children is yet another potential cause of increase in juvenile delinquency. The British Home Secretary Mr. Butler once said that the natural consequences of broken homes are lack of parental control, absence of security and want of love and affection towards children, which are contributing factors for juvenile delinquency.
(3) Unprecedented increase in divorce cases and matrimonial disputes is yet another cause for disrupting family solidarity. Discriminatory or step-motherly treatment with children also has an adverse psychological effect on youngsters. Once a child feels neglected, he is bound to go astray and this furnishes a soothing ground for juvenile delinquency. The children need affection, protection and guidance at home and therefore, they have to be handled very carefully. Greater emphasis should be on preventing them from indulging into criminality rather than curing them after they have committed the offence. The parents and other elderly members of the family must provide adequate opportunities for their youngsters to develop their personality. This is possible through proper education, training and child care.
(4) The rapidly changing patterns in modem living also make it difficult for children and adolescents to adjust themselves to new ways of life. They are confronted with the problem of culture conflict and are unable to differentiate between right and wrong. This may drive them to commit crime.
(5) Biological factors such as, early physiological maturity or low intelligence, also account for delinquent behaviour among juveniles. The age of puberty among girls has gone down by three or four years on an average. Today, Indian girls attain puberty at the age of twelve or thirteen while they still remain mentally and psychologically incapable of conceiving about the realities of life. In result, they fall an easy prey to sex involvements for momentary pleasure without, however, realising the seriousness of the consequences of their act. It is therefore, desired that the parents should explain to their children, particularly the girls, the possible consequences of prohibited sex-indulgences which might serve a timely warning to them. Special care should be taken to ensure effective protection to girls against prostitution and child pornography.
(6) Migration of deserted and destitute boys to slums brings them in contact with anti-social elements carrying on prostitution, smuggling of liquor or narcotic drugs and bootleggers. Thus, they lend into the world of delinquency without knowing what they are doing is prohibited by law.
(7) Poverty is yet another potential cause of juvenile delinquency. Failure of parents to provide necessities of life such as food and clothing etc. draws their children to delinquency in a quest for earning money by whatever means. At times, even the parents connive at this for the sake of petty monetary gains.
(8) Besides the aforesaid causes, illiteracy, child labour, squalor, etc., are also some of the contributing factors aggravating juvenile delinquency.
It must be stated that the nature of delinquency among male juveniles differs radically from those of girls. Boys are more prone to offences such as, theft, pick-pocketing, gambling, eye-teasing, obscenity, cruelty, mischief, etc., while the offences commonly committed by girls include sex-involvements, running away from home, truancy and shop lifting. It is further noteworthy that delinquency rate among boys is much higher than those of girls, the reason being that boys by nature are more adventurous and enduring than those of girls.