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Criminology and Crime Notes: A brief overview Criminology
What is Criminology? I. Criminology A. The scientific approach to studying criminal behavior. An interdisciplinary science that seeks to explain the causes, extent, and nature of crime in society.
1. Individual and societal causes of crime (sociological and psychological) 2. Incidence and forms of crime (statistics) 3. The definition of crime in terms of law (legal) 4. Reaction toward law breaking (punishment and rehabilitation)
What is Criminology? B. Closely related to the field of criminal justice, which is the study of agencies of social control that handle criminal offenders.
Why is crime so riveting? Why do we pay so much attention to crime? ·According to Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs”, feeling safe is our most important need after our basic physiological needs for air, water, and food.
Why is crime so riveting? ·Or, in a darker view, we are filled with repressed criminal impulses and we seek a vicarious outlet for our aggression… ·There are many other explanations, but whatever the case, our view of the nature and extent of crime is often distorted by news reports, TV, and movies. It is everywhere in the media, and we can’t get enough! http://www.newsweek.com/2009/07/31/true-crime.html
How is crime portrayed in the media (TV/movies/news)? Criminals? Victims? Criminal justice system?
II. Crime A. Definition: A wrong against society proclaimed by law and, if committed under certain circumstances, punishable by society. Remember:As society changes, what is defined as a crime changes. B. Two Models of Crime 1. Consensus Model--People agree on basic norms and values. Those who break them must be sanctioned. Laws set boundaries for acceptable behavior within the society.
2. Conflict Model—There are different value systems and norms between groups. The most powerful group imposes its definition of crime on the rest, and the justice system primarily serves them and reinforces their power.
C. Crime vs. Deviance 1. Deviance is abnormal behavior 2. Not all deviance is criminal.
D. Types of Crime 1. Violent Crime--crimes against persons 2. Property Crime 3. Public Order Crime--contrary to moral values 4. White Collar Crime--Business related 5. Organized Crime--illegal acts by illegal organizations 6. High Tech Crime What types of crimes are these? Embezzlement Grand Theft Auto Murder Prostitution Credit Card Fraud Assault Vandalism Bank Robbery Bribery Illegal Gambling Operations (Bookmaking) Arson Public Drunkenness
III. The Criminal Justice System A. Purposes 1. Control Crime 2. Prevent Crime 3. To provide and maintain justice B. Organization 1. Local law enforcement 2. State and federal law enforcement 3. Courts 4. Corrections C. Ideologies: Crime Control (Punish) vs. Due Process (Protect) 1. Informal justice system