Sept 12, 2012
What is crime?
What do criminologists do?
-study behaviour of criminals
-study society’s reaction to criminal behaviour
-work for government, police,
Some definitions of crime
“Criminology is the body of knowledge regarding crime as a social phenomenon. It
includes… the processes of making laws, of breaking laws, and of reacting to the
breaking of laws…the objective of criminology is the development of a body of general
and verified principles and other types of knowledge regarding this process of law,
crime and treatment.”
-Sutherland and Cressey, 1960.
Studies criminal behaviour.
- causes, patterns, control of
uses methods of established social science
- Records, experiments, surveys, historical data, content analysis.
- Sociology, criminal justice, psychology, political science, anthropology,
economics, the natural sciences.
- Create valid and reliable measures of crime.
Sociology of law - History of law, law reform. Why are some things legal and others not? (Why is
marijuana illegal but cigarettes legal?)
- predicting criminal behaviour