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An interdisciplinary field of study that usesthe scientific method to study the nature, extent, cause, and control ofcriminal behavior
what is crime?
An act deemed socially harmful or dangerous. That is specifically defined, prohibited, and punished by the Criminal Law.
Any behavior that violates the Social norms of asociety
Any behavior that violates the Formal laws of asociety
Ø A Criminal is a person who...
Committed a crime Was identified as the offender Was arrested Was convicted Was sentenced
making a certain behavior illegal
eliminating a criminal law so an act is no longer a crime
reduce penalties for a crime
is that the criminal law reflects the values, beliefs, and opinions of the majority if citizen.
is that the criminal law reflects the interests of those in power
v What do Criminologists do?
- Ø Criminal statistics- how much crime?
- Ø Theoretical Criminology- what causes crime?
- Ø Crime Typologists- explain specific types of offenses.
- Ø Penology- examine crime prevention and corrections.
- Ø Sociology of Law- study criminalization and legalization.
- Ø Victiomology
How do Criminologists Study Crime?
- Ø Case Studies§ Observations and interviews
- Ø Survey Research§ Asking a sample of individuals a predetermined set of questions.
- Ø Agency Records and Secondary Data§ Using official crime reports
- Ø Other Methods§ Comparative, Historical, Experimental, and Quasi-Experimental.
- Ø Strengths
- § Best source of data on homicide in the US § Most complete data on the most serious crimes
- § Only source of data on crime rates broken down by state, city, county, and other divisions§ NIBRS(future of UCR) offers improvements
- Ø Weakness
- § Only crimes reported to police for the 8 index offenses
- § Does not provide data on all crimes that are committed
- § When multiple crimes are committed, only the most serious are counted § Little data on characteristics of victims and the criminal event
- § Not all Law enforcement agencies provide data
- § Definitions of crime vary across states.
- Ø Strengths
- § Provides data on both reported and unreported crimes
- § Includes detailed information on the victims and characteristics on the offense
- § The sophisticated research methods used to ensure a relatively unbiased valid estimates of criminal victimizations
- Ø Weakness
- § Underreporting due to fear, embarrassment, self-blame
- § Over reporting due to misinterpretation§ Does not include all types of victimizations
- § Definition of crimes may not correspond with legal definitions
Self- Report Surveys characteristics
- Ø Ask individuals to provide detailed info about crimes that they have committed
- § Example: Interviews with active offenders ( gang members, drug users, prostitutes)
- Ø Main Strength
- § Can provide much more In-depth info regarding the characteristics, family, history and life experiences of offenders
- Ø Main weaknesses
- § Based on convenience samples and the most serious offenders are not likely to be included
- § Small sample size
- § Individuals are likely to admit to engaging in less serious offenses and unlikely to commit to serious crimes
Dark Figure of Crime
Ø Since all sources of data have their weaknesses, there are crimes that are committed that do not show up in certain statistics- this is referred to as the dark figure
Best Source of Crime Data
- § UCR good for studying serious crimes
- § UCR good for comparing crime rates across cities, states
- § NCVS good for studying characteristics and behaviors of victims of crime.
- § Self-Report good for studying less serious offenses.
Ages and crimes patterns?
- § Younger people commit more crime
- § Age groups with most offenders. 15-25
- § 16 is peak age of property offending
- § 18 peak age of violent offending
Ø Gender and Crime
§ Males commit more crimes than females
80% of violent crimes are committed by men
Ø Social class and crime
- § Rates for serious crime are higher in socially disorganized, lower class areas
- § Less serious crimes is committed by all social classes
Ø Race and Crime
- § AA make up 12.1% of population, but 39% of arrests for violent crimes and 30% for property crimes
- § Little differences for less serious crimes, but research suggests that rates for serious crimes are higher among African Americans
attack with a weapon, regardless of injury, and attack without a weapon when serious injury resulted.
attack without a weapon resulting either in no injury or minor injury
§ Intimate Terrorism
Men against women. Severe abuse to assert powerover the victim
§ Violent Resistance
When women fight back in Intimate Terrorism
§ Situational Couple Violence
Both men and women in a couple can be hurt.