In Sociology, crime is identified as a deviant
behavior. It is deviant in that it goes against
accepted or written rules and laws that guide a
• Crime is one of the big problems in society
that sociologists address in their theories. By
an investigation of what leads people to
become criminals, sociologists can present
lawmakers and people of influence with
proposals to prevent crime in communities,
cities, and even nations
THREE SOCIOLOGICAL THEORIES
• DIFFERENTIAL THOERY
• CONTROL THEORY
• ROUTINE ACTIVITIES THEORY
• The theory of differential association asserts
that definitions of crime are an important
factor causing criminal behavior, and these
definitions are learned through interactions
with social groups. By being a part of a group
that legitimizes crime, a person is more likely
to become a criminal, because their social
group has looser definitions for what is okay
• This theory suggests that lawmakers (and
parents!) should take strides to keep people in
social groups that define crime more strictly to
prevent criminal behavior.
• Control theory, on the other hand, poses the
question of why people do not commit crimes.
The theory proposes that people who are
bound to society and support its morality will
refrain from committing crime. This approach
takes a positive spin on things, suggesting that
the most effective reforms will be the ones
that draw people into society in a way that will
cause them to support it and not want to
commit crimes against it.
Routine activity theory
• Another explanation for crime is the routine
activities theory, which proposes that criminal
activity is dependent on opportunities to
commit crime in everyday life.
• Routine activity theory is a sub-field of crime
opportunity theory, developed by Marcus
Felson and Lawrence E. Cohen
• It focuses on situations of crimes (e.g., you are
more likely to be robbed or a victim in the park
than in your locked home).
• Routine activity theory premise is that crime is
relatively unaffected by social causes such as
• For instance, after World War II the economy
of Western countries was booming and the
Welfare states were expanding. During that
time, crime rose significantly. According to
Felson and Cohen, this is because the
prosperity of society offers so many
opportunities for crime to occur there is
much more to steal.
• Routine activity theory is controversial among
sociologists who believe in the social causes of
crime. But several types of crime are very well
explained by routine activity theory including
• copyright infringement
• corporate crime etc
• A graphical model of the Routine activity
theory. The theory stipulates three necessary
conditions for most crime; a likely offender, a
suitable target, and the absence of a capable
guardian, coming together in time and space.
• In other words: for a crime to occur, a likely
offender must find a suitable target without
• To understand crime and sociology, one must first
understand the "Conflict Theory"
• Founded by Karl Marx.
• Conflict theory sees society as two struggling groups
engaged in conflict.
• Under this theory, it is believed that the capitalist class
(or the society elites) commit acts of deviance just as the
working class does. The main difference is that society
elites determine the rules regarding what is deviant. This
difference among the people will always lead to conflict.
This idea explains why there is crime in societies and
why it will never cease.
TYPES OF CRIME
• CRIME AGAINST PERSON
• CRIME AGAINST PROPERTY
• VICTIMLESS CRIMES
CRIME AGAINST PERSON
• Crimes against a person include any offenses
where violence is used or threatened.
Mugging and assault are examples of crimes
against a person.
CRIME AGAINST PROPERTY
• Crimes against property include theft of
property or damage done to someone else's
property. Burglary and arson are crimes
• victimless crimes are crimes that are against
the law, but no victim exists. Prostitution and
marijuana are common examples of victimless
crimes. In sociology, all crimes fall into one of
these three categories.
CRIME AGAINST MORALITY
• Crimes against morality are also called
victimless crimes because there is not
complainant, or victim. Prostitution, illegal
gambling, and illegal drug use are all examples
of victimless crimes.
WHITE COLLAR CRIME
• White-collar crimes are crimes that committed by
people of high social status who commit their crimes in
the context of their occupation. This includes
embezzling (stealing money from one’s employer),
insider trading, and tax evasion and other violations of
income tax laws.
• White-collar crimes generally generate less concern in
the public mind than other types of crime, however in
terms of total dollars, white-collar crimes are even
more consequential for society. Nonetheless, these
crimes are generally the least investigated and least
• Organized crime is crime committed by structured
groups typically involving the distribution of illegal
goods and services to others.
• Many people think of the Mafia when they think of organized
crime, but the term can refer to any group that exercises control
over large illegal enterprises (such as the drug trade, illegal
gambling, prostitution, weapons smuggling, or money
• A key sociological concept in the study or
organized crime is that these industries are
organized along the same lines as legitimate
businesses and take on a corporate form.
• There are typically senior partners who
control the business’ profits, workers who
manage and work for the business, and clients
who buy the goods and services that the
A Sociological Look at Crime
• Arrest data show a clear pattern of arrests in
• For instance, as mentioned above, young, urban,
poor, and racial minorities generally commit
personal and property crimes more so than other
• To sociologists, the question posed by this data is
whether this reflects actual differences in
committing crimes among different groups or
whether this reflects differential treatment by the
criminal justice system.
Reasons of personal and property
• Studies show that the answer here is “both.”
• Certain groups are in fact more likely to commit
crimes than others because crime is linked to
patterns of inequality in the United States.
• However, the process of prosecution in the
criminal justice system is also significantly related
to patterns of race, class, and gender inequality.
• We see this in the official arrest statistics, in
treatment by the police, in sentencing patterns,
and in studies of imprisonment.
• In order to identify who commits crimes and
why they do it, the study of sociology utilizes
age, gender, race, social class, and ethnicity.
• These features are helpful when breaking down
what demographics commit which types of
• By using this information, sociologists have
been able to determine that younger individuals
in society are more likely to commit crimes than
They found out that men are more
likely to commit a crime than women.
• A more appropriate example to the study of
sociology and crime is that violent crimes are
most often perpetrated by poor individuals.
• White-collar crime is more prevalent among
the wealthy, and the laws involved in that sort
of crime are less frequently enforced.
• Studying crime together with sociology is
important due to the effects that crime has
• In addition to the victims of the crime, the
rest of society is charged with the
responsibility of paying for the
incarceration of hundreds of thousands of
criminals each year.
Crimes against property often have devastating financial impacts
on areas of high crime, particularly urban areas filled with lowincome individuals unlikely to report crimes committed against
• Studying crime and sociology together seeks
to identify why these individuals turn to
crime, and it shows how we, as a society, can
• With nearly 300 individuals under the age of
19 incarcerated in federal prisons, learning
how to prevent children from turning into
lifetime criminals is a current goal of
• Finding alternative rehabilitation facilities is a
first step in making sure underage offenders
don't perfect their criminal skills while in the
presence of career criminals
• Understanding crime and sociology
together has great significance for the
future of any society
• . By identifying the "who" and the
"why" of crime, we are better
equipped to find solutions that don't
lead to a life of crime.
• For example, removing a child from an abusive
home is the first step in making certain that child
does not learn to express himself in only a
• Without understanding the make up of the
criminal, it is not possible to understand his or
• . Sociology seeks to understand these individuals and
their situations. By doing so, the goal is to determine a
way to treat these individuals that will reduce their
• A lower crime rate has a positive effect on society as a
whole, including more money available for more
necessary projects, greater property value in urban
areas and less children incarcerated.
Difference between crime and
• Crime is behaviour that breaks the formal
written laws of a society. If someone commits
a crime they can be arrested, charged and
prosecuted. Action can be illegal but not
• Deviance is behaviour which does not comply
with the dominant norms of a specific society.
If people are seen as deviant it can lead to
negative sanctions such as being told off or
Justice and crime:
• Justice is a small word, but it has a great and
transcendental meaning as it play an
important role in crimes and punishment. A
judge has to take the balance of each criminal
to be perfectly matched with his crime. Justice
also makes criminals be afraid, timed and
punishments become compel to the criminal
to think hundreds of times before committing
Prevention of crime:
• Create, implement and monitor a national action plan for violence
• Enhance capacity for collecting data on violence.
• Define priorities for, and support research on, the causes, consequences,
costs and prevention of violence.
• Promote primary prevention responses.
• Strengthen responses for victims of violence.
• Integrate violence prevention into social and educational policies, and
thereby promote gender and social equality.
• Increase collaboration and exchange of information on violence
• Promote and monitor adherence to international treaties, laws and other
mechanisms to protect human rights.
• Seek practical, internationally agreed responses to the global drugs and
global arms trade.