- definitions of criminology, methods of criminology and exploring various theories of
What is criminology?
- the study of criminal activity, why people engage in criminal behaviour
- the study of the origins of criminal behaviour
- how much crimes there is, whats it nature, measuring it over time
- "Criminology is the body of knowledge regarding crime as a social phenomenon. It
includes within its scope the process of making laws, breaking laws and reacting toward
the breaking of laws" (Sutherland and Cressey)
- study the law issue of creation
- Criminology is an objective social science. As such it involves :
1) the development of theory
2) the formulation of research hypotheses
3) the collection of information to test research hypotheses
4) the evaluation of research findings
Areas of Criminological Inquiry
- The Criminal Law a) Law creation: The role of social forces play in shaping the
b) The Law in Action: the role that the criminal law plays in shaping society
- Crime Statistics a) How common is criminal behaviour?
b) what social factors are related to crime?
c) How does the extent and nature of crime change through time?
- Crime Causation : Why do some people commit criminal acts? Why do most people
obey the laws? Micro (individual), Meso (group) and Macro (structural) levels of
- Victimology: a) what are the cautions of victimizations? b) How can society help
- The operation of the Criminal Justice System : The nature and operation of a) the
police b) he criminal courts c) the correctional system
Crime or Deviance?
- Uncommon behaviours : Are all uncommon activities crime? Are all crimes
- Voluntary vs. Involuntary behaviours
- Harmful vs. Harmless behaviours
- Are all crime harmful behaviour that hurts an individual?
- The social context of behaviour; must be within appropriate context
- deviant is a uncommon activity, anything that deviants from the common norm
- how harmful can a behaviour be before it becomes illegal?
- all crimes are harmful, are often forgetting the debate that how harmful are they
- j-walking, gambling, nudity, prositution, use of drugs, selling/obtaining cigars
- all crimes that are all equally damaging does not hold weight John Hagan's Typology of Deviance
- some conflicts do not engage the criminal justice system
- considerably social debate
- consensus crimes; has very little debate over the deviance
- 98% canadians agree that break and enters should remain illegal
- Three interacting variables …
1) evaluation of social harm; very harmful, somewhat harmful, not very harmful
2) agreement about the norm; strong agreement, strong disagreement, confusion or
3) severity of societal response; very severe, moderate, mild
Types of Crime and Deviance
Consensus Crime (high degree of consensus that it should be criminalized) : murder,
rape, armed robbery, child molestation
conflict crimes (considerably debate) : pornography, prostitution, drug use, gambling
social deviations (unusual, less common) :alcoholism, bi-sexuality
social diversions (minor) : body-piercing
A definition of crime
- a crime is a violation of a criminal law that has been formally established by the state
- a set of rules legisla