Week 1: Defining Crime, Criminal and the law
Consensus Crimes: Crimes that are considered to be more visible.
Mala in se: means wrong in themselves
CONFLICT CRIMES: controversial ones. ex: prostitution, drug use, porn
Mala Prohibita: only considered a crime because its written down ex:weed
1) Objectivist Approach
Social organization is built around the notion that most members of
society agree on what is right and wrong, and that the various
elements of society work together toward a common and shared
vision of greater good.
Characterized by four principles:
1. A belief in the existence of core values.
2. The notion that laws reflect the collective will of the
3. The assumption that the law serves all people equally
4. The idea that those who violate the law represent a
unique subgroup with some distinguishing features.
2) Subjectivist Approach
Maintains that conflict is a fundamental aspect of social life itself and
can never be fully resolved.
Viewing crime as a label. Without the label, there is no crime.
Those with power get to decide whether or not an action is a crime
There is a conflict between those with power and those without.
1. Society is made up of diverse groups.
2. Each group holds to differing definitions of right and
3. Conflicts between groups in unavoidable
4. The fundamental nature of group conflict centres on the
exercise of political power
5. Law is a tool of power and furthers the interests of those
powerful enough to make it.
6. This in power are inevitably interested in maintaining their
power against those who would usurp it.
The Link Between Deviance and Crime.
Deviance- behaviour that violates social norms or is statistically different from the
Some forms of deviance are not criminal, and vice versa. Legal Statute: outlines offences that are considered a crime.
In Canada, We have violent crimes (any crime that’s physical), property
crimes (theft), administrated offences (court order offenses, if you lie while
on the stand in court), drug and traffic offenses.(relate to driving a vehicle.
Actions in a vehicle)
3 major forms of the law must be distinguished:
Civil law: deals with arrangements between individuals, such as contracts and claims to
Criminal law: Regulates actions that have the potential to harm interests of the state.
Because the state is made up of citizens, acts that are harmful to citizens of the state are
fundamentally criminal in nature.
- Indictable offenses: Serious criminal offence. Include murder, robbery,
sexual assault, hostage taking, perjury, and passing counterfeit money.
Typically carries a prison sentence 14 years or longer.
- Summary conviction of offence: a criminal offense that is less serious
than an indictable offense; one that carries a maximum penalty of six
months in jail. Includes making indecent telephone calls, causing a
disturbance in a public place, or loitering.
- Hybrid Offence (duel-procedure offences): a criminal offence that can
be classified as indictable or as a summary conviction; the
classification is usually made by the Crown Attorney. Incudes pointing
a firearm, driving while disqualified, and uttering death threats.
Administrative law: Regulates many daily business activities. Violation of such
regulations generally results in warnings or fines, depending upon their adjudged
Most of the work a crown attorney does is in the courtroom. They decided
which cases get dismissed. They say what sentence someone receives
Lawyers that are responsible for preparing and prosecuting cases for alleged
criminal and quasi- criminal offences occurring within a province in which
they are employed.
CCRF- make sure they know the Canadian charter
Burden of proof always falls on the prosecutor. The prosecutor has to prove
that you are guilty with the exception of possession.
Responsibility of the state to provide evidence to prove your guilty
Screen and disclosure – occurs when the prosecution receives a brief of the
allegations from the agency responsible for laying the charge to charges Defence
Defence are those who represent people who are accused of a crime
Defence lawyers do most of their work outside of the courtroom
Routine work: advise client on how they should proceed. Will explain the
procedures to the victim.
Surety: someone to provide bail and under supervision by someone else
Trial: very few cases dont make it to trial. If theres a trial, there are two
stories from both points of view (crown and defence) called narrative
Two types of defences:
o Factual - Defences that challenges the crown, judge, police
investigations. Ex: eye witnesses
o Legal- You can use in court. Written in criminal code. They asses
whether it is criminal and/or your case is dimissed or you get reduced
o Mistake: mistake of fact not ignorance of the law. Honest error.
o Self- Defence: We have a right to protect our own life. Any reasonable
person will try and do this. Under very strict guidelines. You can only
use equal force. In Canada, the argument is no more force that’s
necessary. In Canada, you cannot use force to protect your property.
In the USA, you can.
o Duress: You have no free will, so you commit the crime without
wanting to. You are forced to commit the crime.
o Necessity: you needed to commit a crime to ensure the well being of
the other person ex: speeding because you have someone in labour in
o Consent: you can consent to be a victim of crime. There are
exceptions. If you spit on someone, you are consenting the other
person to commit a crime.
o Provocation: partial defense. You will get a lesser penalty.
Understood that a person is provoked beyond the tolerance of a
reasonable person. Ex: walk in room, spouse is having an affair, and
you physically assault them. You were provoked to hit them.
o Intoxication: May reduce penalty. If you voluntary intoxicate yourself
it is no longer a defense. Exception: You can't use it for vehicle
o Insanity: It’s a legal insanity defence not a psychological defense.
Temporary insanity is not legal in Canada.
o Automatism: sometime referred to non-insane automatism. You are
acting without free will. Ex: sleepwalking, engage in something
because of a head injury o Entrapment: engaging in behaviour’s you otherwise wouldn’t of done
ex: drug dealing, prostitution. Undercover cops.
Human Trafficking: based on supply and demand. two ways that occur is through
organs and prostitution. Selling body parts/ people.
Cyber Crime: the computer is used as a tools or object. Use of the internet to
commit crimes Ex: child porn, theft, sale of humans online,
As an object, this is when new crimes are created are created and spread to cause
Crime Control verses Due process
The crime control model stresses the importance of controlling crime and favours
providing criminal justice professionals with considerable powers for responding
to crime. Crime control advocates would support giving police wide powers to
search suspects, enter people’s houses, and detain persons accused of a crime.
The due process model limits the powers of the criminal justice system to
prosecute accused persons. Advocates argue that if the State is not subject to some
limits, society will become intolerable, as people will be subjected to constant
surveillance and police interventions. Therefore we create certain rights that are
Criminal justice system and funding:
Charter rights (pros and cons):
Week 2: Researching and measuring crime
Applied Research: scientific inquiry that is designed and carried out with
practical application in mind.
Pure Research: research undertaken simply for the sake of advancing scientific
Primary Research: research characterized by original and direct investigation.
Secondary Research: new evaluations of existing information collected by other
researchers. Scientific research can be divided into four stages:
1. Problem Identification.
Name the problem/issue to be studied.
Can be selected for various reasons.
The way the research problem is stated will help narrow down the research focus
and serve as a guide for data gathering strategies.
Much contemporary research in criminology is involved with testing
Hypothesis: in this day it can serve two purposes. 1) An explanation that
accounts for a set of facts and that can be tested by further investigation. 2)
Something that is taken to be true for the purpose of argument or investigation.
A hypothesis must have measurable variables.
Variable: a concept that can undergo measurable changes
2. Research Designs
Research Design: the logic and structure inherent in an approach to data
Doesn’t always eliminate a third variable.
Confounding effects (rival explanations, also called competing hypotheses,
which are threats to the internal or external validity of any research design.)
by others, make the results of a single series of observations unclear.
Controlled Experiments: those that attempt to hold conditions (other than
the factor we are studying) constant.
Quasi-Experimental Designs: approaches to research that, although less
powerful than experimental designs, are deemed, worthy of use when better
designs are not feasible.
3. Techniques of Data Collection
Surveys: a social science data gathering technique involving the use of
Case Studies: an investigation into an individual case.
Useful for what they can tell us what to expect about other
Participant Observation: a variety of strategies in data gathering in which a
researcher observes a group by participating, to varying degrees, in the
activities of the group.
Self-Reporting: Research investigations of subjects in order to record and
report their behaviours. Secondary Analysis: the reanalysis of existing data. Can save people a lot of
time and expense
4. Quantitative vs. Qualitative Methods
Quantitative Methods: Research techniques that produce measurable results
o Anything expressible in numbers must somehow be more meaningful than
that which is not.
Qualitative Methods: research techniques that produce subjective results or
results that are difficult to quantify.
o Important for the insight they provide into the subjective working of the
criminal mind and the processes by which meaning it accorded to human
Values and Ethics in the Conduct of Research
Data confidentiality- An ethical requirement of social scientific research that
stipulates that research data not be shared outside of the research environment
Informed Consent: an ethical requirement of social scientific research that
specifies that research subjects will be informed as to the nature of the research
about to be conducted, their anticipated role in it, and the uses to which the data
they provide will be put.
Frank E Hagan suggested a code of ethics:
o Avoid procedures that may harm respondents.
o Honor commitments to respondents and respect reciprocity.
o Exercise objectivity and professional integrity in performing and reporting
o Protect confidentiality and privacy of respondents.
The Uniform Crime Reporting Survey (UCR)
Definition: a summation of crime statistics tallied annually by the Canadian
Centre for Justice Statistics (CCJS) and consisting primarily of data on crimes
reported to police.
Provides a standardized procedure by which police departments can collect
information about crimes that come to their attention and then report this
information to Statistic’s Canada, Specifically to the Canadiand centre for Justice
Includes data in the following areas:
o Information on victims: age, sex, level of injury, type of weapin causing
injury, alcohol use, drug use.
o Information on the accused: age, sex, type of charges, drug/alcohol use; o Information on the circumstances of the incident: type of violation, target
of violation, types of property stolen, dollar value of property affected,
dollar value of drugs confiscated, type of weapon presented, time and type
of location of the incident.
o We can help compare across place.
o We can compare it to other countries because each country collects data in
the same way.
o Consistant from year to year
o There are unreported crimes, known as dark figure of crimes
o To assume that all these police services are recording their crime statistics
is not realistic.
o The UCR counts only the most serious offence in the incident. Most
serious offence is determined by the maximum sentence length.
o The UCR records the number of incidents in terms of number of victims.
If one person assaults two people, two incidents are recorded. But if two
people assault one person, only one incident is recorded.
o The consistency of definition
Done every 5 years through stats canada. It will ask people who are 15 or older.
Provides data on surveyed households reporting that they had been affected by
Some of the general q's are whether the person has been personally been a victim
of a specific crime in the past year. Also asked if any other member of their
household was a victim. What’s the worst crime that’s happened to them? Crime
that’s happened to someone else in their household. Describe the nature/
consequences of the crime. What was their experience? also ask if they reported
to police. If they didn’t, why didn’t they?
o Got to see which are the under reported crime. Sexual assault is the most
o Info about why people don't report crimes.
o Memory: relies on peoples memory. not might recall some events o Interpretation and knowledge: depends on how people understand what
being victimized is about. If they don’t think that they've been a victim
then they wont report it. Relies on knowledge of being a victim of crime.
o Also limited: doesn’t ask if someone’s been victimized by their company
(aka white collared crime) They don’t ask q's about gambling, drug abuse,
alcohol use etc.
o Some people are more likely to report victimization surveys than others.
Some respondents don’t want to discuss it
A data collection method requiring subjects to reveal their own participation in
o The accuracy of this research approach is predicated on the honesty of the
o Lack of standardized data collection methods.
o Certain crimes are more likely to be captured in police data than others.
o Class: poor are overrepresented in our crime stats. Regardless of class,
most respondents said that they have committed some type of crime.
Social Dimensions: aspects of crime and victimization as they relate to socially
significant attributes by which groups are defined, and according to which
individuals are assigned group memberships. o Negative correlation between being a victim and age
o Correlation does not imply a causation – spurious
o Correlates of crime- those variables observed to be related to criminal
activity such as age, gender, ethnicity and social class
Age is one the strongest correlates with committing crime—
biological explanations involving hormones
crime rates peek from age 15-19 then decline globally.
we could predict when we had high levels of crime.
Demographics can tell us when we will have higher and
lower crime rates.
Gender- males account for over 80% of crime
Males are stronger and have more physical ability to do
things and they have more psychological personalities to
Men and women are socialized differently.
Women are socially controlled differently.
Opportunity: because females are more controlled, they
don't have the same opportunity to commit crime.
When women commit crimes- more likely to be followers
Role of convergence- female behavior takes on that of men
Ethnicity- Canada does not report on the racial and ethnic makeup
The only exceptions are aboriginal and non aboriginals.
Aboriginal offenders are discriminated against, yet they
don’t commit that much crime compared to other
In the us, they systematically report the race and ethnicity.
They have white, African-American, Hispanic, and other.
Minority populations are over represented as suspects,
Social class- members of lower social classes are more prone to
Correlation between lower socio-economic status, and
We have different theories about explaining crimes.
A theory helps give understanding to people who commit crime.
Concepts are the building block of theory.
Variables: concepts that vary. They can be measured or observed.
Independent: influencing something in some way
Dependent: the outcomes
Hypothesis: statements that tries to link separate variables Classical School
5 reasons why people behave:
1) Hedonism: you want pleasure. You want things that feel good. People seek pleasure
and avoid pain. We can calculate the risk of our behaviour
2) Free will: everything we choose to do, we want to do it.
3) society operates under a social contract: we give up our hedonism for social order.
We want social order more than our own pleasure.
4) Punishment: Our punishment should be justified. Should be used for us to use our
5) We should be based a society on utilitarianism. Greater good for the greatest number
of people. We should only act in ways that bring about the greater good
Punishment: It is appropriate when….
1) People shouldn’t benefit from crime. No profit.
2) Seriousness of the offence should have a more serious punishment.
3) Should have discouragement against all parts of crimes. Not just serious ones.
4) Should never be more than the value of the offence to the offender. Should mean
something so that punishment has value to the person.
5) You need the same consistency across similar or same offences.
Deterrence: We deter people from committing