Chapter 14 – Public Order Crimes
Crimes that essentially have no victim; they are behaviours that society has criminalized because
they contract values, norms, and customs.
Mala in se crimes such as murder, rape, or robbery are criminalized because they are deemed
inherently evil/wrong; Mala prohibitum crimes (Public order crimes) such as prostitution or
marijuana are criminalized because they conflict with morals or current public opinion
This chapter is divided into four main sections:
1) Law and Morality
2) Illegal Sexuality
3) Drugs and Alcohol Abuse
4) Emerging Issues
Law and Morality
It is difficult to determine a victim in public order crimes; this raises the question: can something
be considered a crime if there is no victim?
For example: Both parties are usually willing/consenting participants in the transaction,
therefore, there is no victim. In some cases, the prostitute is raped or forced, but this differs
with each case.
Who defines what is moral? Who sets these standards?
Sir Patrick Devlin: “without shared ideas on politics, morals and ethics no society can exist...” He
is saying that we must have standards of morality to keep society in order.
Gusfield: outlawing certain acts gives moral superiority to people who follow moral standards
and degrades groups of people to commit acts that conflict moral standards.
Criminal vs. Immoral
Some immoral acts can actually prevent criminal acts: people who watch porn can release
sexual tension that otherwise may have resulted in crime
Some argue that immoral acts are crimes because they harm the public; however tobacco and
alcohol are legal and both cause harm to the public
Vigilante: a historic character who held to a strict standard of morality punishing things like
sexual deviance, alcohol use, etc.
Though vigilantes do not exist today, they have had a huge impact on shaping the moral
standards of today’s society
Moral crusades: abuse/action towards people who are defined as “evil” such as abortion clinics,
logging companies, etc. For example: vandalism of an abortion clinic
Moral entrepreneurs: a person who leads moral crusades, believing that without-a-doubt their
opinion is morally correct (defined by Howard Becker)
Recurrent sexual urges that use abnormal sexual practices.
Broken down into 3 specific areas:
1) Nonhuman objects (shoes, leather)
2) Humiliating or causing pain 3) Children (or those who cannot grant consent)
Some of these sexual practices are not criminal because they happen in the bedroom. For
example: a man wearing a woman’s clothes.
Other acts cause harm to society and are criminal. For example: exposing genitals in public.
Defined as the consensual exchange of sex for money, and money for sex
It is the oldest profession, dating back to 500 B.C.E.
Prostitution was tolerated until the Greek Reformation when prostitutes began to be equated
with the devil
Some argue that it should be legalized because prostitution is a matter of free choice; others
argue that women are being dominated and exploited by male clients
Types of Prostitutions:
Streetwalkers: these women are the least attractive and most vulnerable to violence and abuse.
They are usually ethnic minorities or runaways.
Bar girls (B-girl): a woman who is employed by a bar and encourages men to buy extremely
expensive drinks that are actually just coloured water
Brothels: an establishment run by madams and house several prostitutes. Some are legal in
Call girls: gain clients through escort services; many girls come from middle class
neighbourhoods to service upper-class businessmen. Some earn over $100,000 per year.
Rap booths: the prostitute and her client are separated by a glass wall and talk on a phone; the
prostitute disrobes more and talks dirtier the longer the client is willing to talk/pay for.
Becoming a Prostitute:
Many suffer from sexual abuse in the past
Come from troubled homes
Likely to have had run-ins with the law, poor grades and substance abuse problems
Child prostitution is a huge issue in Europe and the Middle East: girls are kidnapped or sold by
family members into the sex trade. They are often transported around Europe/Middle East. The
UN has launched a huge mission hoping to end this.
Derives his income from the earnings of his prostitutes.
Provides the prostitutes with physical protection, stays on alert for police, posts bail
Either finds women who are already streetwalkers or “turns out” those who are not in the
These are the clients of the prostitutes
Not often caught/charged but if they are, they’re sent to “John School”
John School: men hear horror stories about prostitution, how the women came to be
prostitutes, health concerns, etc.
Child Pornography Rings:
Include anywhere from 3-11 children, usually male; some of nursery school age Involve children posing in inappropriate positions, sometimes with an adult (an adult the
Leaders of these rings trade photos with other rings
Pornography and Violence:
Some argue that pornography fuels sexual/violent rampages
Statistics show, however, that viewing pornography lowers the rate of offences in a community
It is said that pornography helps some people release sexual/violent urges that would have
otherwise resulted in crime
Requires tons of police enforcement (time and money)
For the most part, substance abuse crimes are victimless crimes (creates problems)
Some say that drug use should be decriminalized if it is being done in private because this would
allow government to tax the money instead of drug dealers making huge profits
History of Drug use:
Opium was criminalized in Canada in 1908 due to Chinese immigrants “corrupting” white
women by smuggling it into