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Lecture 2

SOCI-225 Lecture 2: What is Crime

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What is Crime?
-Historically, harmful and detrimental behavior was considered a private matter that was solved
amongst the involved parties.
Gradually, said harmful acts became considered a threat to the society as a whole.
This later involved in State intervention, in which the government took upon itself the
responsibility of enforcement and persecution, as well as protecting the vulnerable.
The Legal Definition of Crime.
-Most common definition is legalistic.
A crime is an act that violates criminal law and is therefore punishable.
In Canada, these are defined in the Criminal Code.
Human Rights Violations As A Crime.
-Based upon universally declared human rights.
Should violating of one's right to the necessities of life be considered a crime?
What about government policies that inflict harm?
What is to be done regarding Ists and Isms.
A Continuum of Crime & Deviance
Hagen's Continuum.
-Falls somewhere between legalities and human rights.
Reflects the way criminologists think of crime.
Crime itself encompasses acts that break criminal law and a range of other behaviors that should
be considered criminal in nature.
These acts are both potentially liable to criminal persecution.
The Three Dimensions
1. The Degree on Consensus that an act is wrong.
2. The severity of societies response to the act.
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