Crimes committed by teenagers are on the rise, with over 500 cases filed against teenagers and children throughout different police stations of Dhaka in the past 15 months. Md Shahabuddin Miah, assistant public prosecutor of the Dhaka Juvenile Court, said, “Cases filed against teenage criminals in recent times show an alarming rise in juvenile crime. We are getting a huge inflow of criminal cases involving teenagers.” He added that it is a cause for particular concern that the teenage criminals were not restricted to members of low-income families. “Not only the slum boys, children of rich families are also involving themselves with serious crimes,” the state lawyer said, quoting a case filed against a teenage criminal of Uttara, who is the son of a retired judge.
The Dhaka Juvenile Court received a total of 506 cases from the 49 police stations of the capital between October 2015 and December 2016, with eight more cases received in the last 20 days of January 2017. As per data from the juvenile court, 200 cases were sent to them in 2015, while it received 306 cases in 2016. After analyzing a number of case documents, it was found that teenagers from all backgrounds are now getting involved in serious crimes that included killing, stalking, raping and mugging. Even the children of well-off families were involving themselves in traditionally blue-collar crimes such as mugging to support drug habits. Meanwhile, their families are largely unaware of their seedy lives.
Blaming the apathy of parents for the rise in teen violence and crime, experts said youths were stepping into the dark side of life as they lack proper guidelines and receive little attention from their guardians. Chairman of Dhaka University Criminology Department, Dr. Zia Rahman, said: “Children will grow up properly if they get proper guidelines from their parents from an early age.” He added that children need counseling and support, which should ideally come from their families. If parents are busy, it should be ensured that they still receive this social support in childhood, whether from daycare centers or other sources. The involvement of teenagers in violent crimes came to the fore after two minors were killed by teenagers in Uttara and Tejgaon in gang-related clashes.