Criminology is the study of crime and criminal offenders in many
different settings and from many different points of view. All countries make
rules, or laws, which forbid certain types of behavior. A crime is an act that
is forbidden by law because it is harmful to a person, to property, or to
society in general. Attitudes towards crime do not always stay the same. Laws
may be changed as society develops. The definition of crime also varies from
country to country. Sometimes an act that is considered criminal is only
considered to be so because it defies or goes against social mores. In making
decisions about what types of acts or behavior are categorized as criminal, a
society’s government has to evaluate the harshness or extremity of the act.
Criminal activity of all kinds has existed since people began to live
together in societies. “People in the earliest societies were as much
concerned as we are today with such harmful acts as stealing and
They realized, as we do, that respect for life and
property is essential to the survival of any society. In latter days, there
were no written laws. The consequences for behaving in a criminal manner were
somehow known. Many times when criminal acts were committed, they were done so
in desperation. As time has progressed, we have seen where people have thought
... crime and are eligible for arrest and punishment by the upholders of law in society, the police. A particular act that is defined as criminal ... activities are considered criminal when they break these laws. But ties are also considered criminal in people's minds and consciences, ... definition of what constitutes the act of a crime. The laws established, the way people thought, and God's influence all ...
less of punishment and done things out of radical behavior. Therefore, when
the lack of respect for word of mouth came about, societies developed
governments to protect their interests. In these governments, leaders wrote
down what acts were considered criminal and in turn gave the appropriate
consequences for them all. Today, most countries have a certain code of laws
that all citizens have to obey. All of the laws are created from research into
the severity of crimes, the factors that cause them to happen and the people
who commit them.
Some crimes have always been considered more serious then others. In
the United States serious crimes are called felonies. They are usually
punished by imprisonment but in some states, certain felonies may be punishable
by death. Some of the most serious felonies are murder, robbery, rape,
kidnapping, assault, treason, forgery, counterfeiting, trafficking, and arson.
There are always “loopholes” in laws. What this means is that sometimes, when
someone commits a crime, they are able to find ways to get around the
punishment. In severe cases of criminal activity however, the opportunity for a
break is less likely. Less serious crimes are called misdemeanors. A
misdemeanor can range from a traffic ticket to public drunkenness. Most of the
time, a person can pay a fine and be on their way. “Punishment for these
offenses is a fine or imprisonment for less than one year”(Kirkham 25).
often than not however, there is more to misdemeanors than just fines and jail
time. Take for instance if someone decides to commit a misdemeanor
repeatedly. The punishment for repeat offenders is more harsh, even if it is a
simple misdemeanor crime that has been committed. In general, there is a
widespread agreement about which acts should be regarded as felonies and which
as misdemeanors. It is important to realize that these definitions may change
as a society’s values change. And in the United States, an act that is a
Television Made Me Do It! They lay quietly in the moist grass waiting for their plan to unfold. Their camouflage clothing helped them to blend into the scenery. No one would be able to see them until it was too late. The plan was quite simple but well thought out. They knew that it would work because they had seen similar ones work before. They both heard the warning signal at the same time.Now it ...
felony in one state may be a misdemeanor in another.
Teenagers and young adults are more likely to become victims of violent
crime than other persons are. “In 1998, about a third of all victims of
violent crime were ages 12 to 19 and almost half of all victims of violence
were under age 25″(Bureau of Justice Statistics 1998).
In addition, persons
with lower incomes are more vulnerable to violent crime than those from higher
income households. “Persons with household incomes of less than $35,000 per
year had significantly higher violent crime rates for the category of total
violent crime when compared with those who had household incomes of $35,000 or
more per year”(Bureau of Justice Statistics 1998).
Most of the time crimes are
committed by people who are desperate for a variety of different things. They
may come from broken homes or from families with multiple additions. Other
times, an individual may have to provide for numerous amounts of other people.
Then again, sometimes the individual commits a crime to become more accepted by
their peers. They may feel that there is no way of getting what they need or
want, unless they have to beg, steal, cheat, or perform other aspects of
illegal activity. In the same aspect however, there are also great numbers of
blue collar and higher-class criminals. The only difference in these
individuals and those of lower social status is that higher-class criminals
usually don’t want for many things. When more heinous crimes are committed by
the higher class, it is commonly assumed that they are crimes of passion. If
all the money and glitter is taken away, you are left with the everyday typical
Crime is committed in every race however; statistics show that a
significant portion of the criminal world is made up of the African American or
black race. There are very important factors that help to influence the numbers
There have been incidents in the past wherein crime victims are people from different racial ethnicities, gender, and group affiliations. The acts perpetrated against them are sometimes motivated by hate. These acts characterize hate crime, which has been prevalent in the United States for many years. There have been periods in time when hate crimes targeted a specific racial group. Hate crimes ...
for statistics on black crime. According to the National Drug Strategy
Network, African Americans make up less than one-third of the population in
Georgia. The arrest rate in criminal drug related cases for African Americans
is five times greater than the arrest rate of white Americans for the same
charges. A CNN article in 1996 sited U.S. figures that show more than 90% of
all federal prosecutions for crack cocaine in 1995 were of African American
defendants. In society, there is an equal distribution of criminals (and law-
abiding citizens) among all racial and ethnic groups and blacks are no more
likely to be criminals than are whites. In contrast, data shows that African
Americans are more likely than others to be arrested and convicted. Some
people may believe that African Americans are arrested so often for drug
offenses due to the targeting of drug dealers by police. With the predominant
amount of black males arrested. If that indeed is the case, why did an
analysis by the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles find that 77% of the
offenses leading to the first conviction and 79% of the offenses leading to a
second drug conviction showed less than one gram of a controlled substance.
Crime is committed for many different reasons. Some people steal
because they cannot afford the thing they desire. “Cars are often stolen
because they are symbols of wealth, and they also make it easier to escape from
the scene of a crime”(Gruszecki 44).
No one knows exactly what causes crime.
It may be the different forms of crime have different causes. For example, a
person who becomes angry during an argument and attacks another person is
probably not influenced by the same motives that lead a bank teller to steal
from a bank. Some scientists think that the causes of crime are physical, or
biological. This is a very old point of view. “Researchers once believed that
people who committed crimes were different from other people in such things as
their body builds or the shapes of their heads. Most modern scientists reject
Punishment of Crimes in the US Criminal Justice System One of the greatest challenges facing the criminal justice system is the need to balance the rights of accused criminals against society’s interest in imposing punishments on those convicted of crimes. The U. S. criminal justice system deals with punishment of those in violation of the law in several ways; retribution, incapacitation, ...
this theory”(Kirkham 34).
Other scientists that the causes of crime are
social. They attach importance to such things as poverty, unemployment, and
poor housing. Lack of education or job training and a broken home are among
factors that these researchers believe may lead to crime. Still other
scientists believe that the causes of crime are largely psychological. “They
view the criminal as someone driven by mental forces-often thought to be beyond
the criminal’s control. In this theory, crime is viewed as a symptom of some
problem–fear, or perhaps anger–that has lead to mental illness”(Kirkham 36).
In addition to researching and studying statistics on crime. I have
included my personal survey on young persons ranging from age 18 to 25 and
discovered some very interesting facts among all races, including Caucasian,
African-American, Asian, and Hispanics. My personal statistics show among
African American 3 out of 7 have been arrested for crime ranging from
possession of marijuana, weapons in school safety zone, petty theft, failure to
appear in court for tickets. Among the Asian race I surveyed (ranging from
ages 18 to 22), all 4 have reported to never been arrested. While the
Caucasian race 3 out of 5 have reported crimes they have been arrested for such
as D.U.I., possession of marijuana, damaging property, disorderly conduct, and
shoplifting. In all fairness out of all races I have surveyed, the Asian race
had reported zero crimes. And Hispanics 4 out of 9 have been arrested for
D.U.I. and assault.