CRIM 012 Study Guide - Final Guide: Larceny, Abrasive, Impulsivity
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Criminology Study Guide
What is meant by “the field of criminology?”
The scientific study of the nature, extent, cause and control of criminal behavior.
Felony vs. Misdemeanor?
Felony: A serious offense that carries a penalty of imprisonment, usually for one year or
more, and may entail loss of political right.
Ex. Murder, rape, and burglary.
Misdemeanor: A minor crime usually punished by a short jail term and/or a fine.
Ex. Unarmed assault and battery, petty larceny, and disturbing the peace.
-The belief that the majority of citizens (both rich and poor) in a society share common
values and agree on what behaviors should be defined as criminal.
-The belief that criminal behavior is defined by those in power in such a way as to protect
and advance their own self-interest.
- Conflict criminologists often argue the unfairness of lower society citizens receiving
harsher crimes than the rich receive for their more serious crimes.
-Powerful rule to protect and advance their own self-interest
-The belief that those with social power are able to impose their values on society as a
whole, an these values then define criminal behavior.
-The definition of crime reflects the preferences and opinions of people who hold social
power in a particular legal jurisdiction.
-Social powers impose their values on society as a whole which define criminal behavior
-Criminal law is a derivative of the consensus view
-The written code that defines crimes and their punishments
Crime vs. Deviance?
Crime: An act, deemed by socially harmful or dangerous, that is specifically defined,
prohibited, and punished under the criminal law.
-Not all crimes deviate from the norm.
Deviant Behavior: Actions that depart from the social norm. Some are considered
criminal, others merely harmless aberrations.
Ex. Joining a religious cult or cross-dressing
-A deviant act becomes a crime when it is deemed socially harmful or dangerous.
Ex. Murder or rape
Criminology vs. Criminal justice?
Criminology: The scientific study of the nature, extent, cause and control of criminal
Criminal Justice: System made up of the agencies of social control, such as police
departments, courts, and correctional institutions that handle criminal offenders.
Victimology vs. Penology?
Victimology: The study of the victim’s role in criminal events.
-Focuses on the victim
Penology: Subarea of criminology that focuses on the correction and control of criminal
-Focuses on the offender
Classical vs. Positivism?
Classical: Theoretical perspective suggesting that people choose to commit crime and that
crime can be controlled if potential criminals fear punishment.
Positivism: The branch of social science that uses the scientific method of the natural
sciences and suggests that human behavior is a product of social, biological,
psychological, or economic forces that can be empirically measured.
List the Reporting Crime Mechanisms:
1) Uniform Crime Report (UCR)
•Large database, compiled by the FBI, of crimes reported and arrests made
each year throughout the United States
2) National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS)
•Program that requires local police agencies to provide a brief account of each
incident and arrest within 22 crime patterns, including incident, victim, and
3) National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)
•The ongoing victimization study conducted jointly by the Justice Department
and the U.S. Census Bureau that surveys victims about their experiences when
4) Self Report Surveys
•A research approach that requires subjects to reveal their own participation in
delinquent or criminal acts
Part I Crimes vs. Part II Crimes?
Part I : The eight most serious offenses included in the UCR: murder, rape, assault,
robbery, burglary, arson, larceny, and motor vehicle theft.
Part II: All other crimes, aside from the eight Part I crimes, included in the UCR arrest
data. Part II crimes include drug offenses, sex crimes, and vandalism, among others.
Program that requires local police agencies to provide a brief account of each incident
and arrest within 22 crime patterns, including incident, victim, and offender
What is the dark figure of crime?
Term used by Criminologists to describe the amount of unreported crime.
What is the lapse in validity of the UCR?
1) Victims may consider the crime trivial or unimportant and therefore choose not to
2) Some victims fail to report because they do not trust the police or have little
confidence in the ability of the police to solve crime
3) People without property insurance believe it is useless to report theft
4) Victims may fear reprisals from an offender’s friends or family
5) Some victims have “dirty hands” and are involved in illegal activities themselves
What is the lapse in validity of self-reports?
1) Expecting people to admit illegal acts is unreasonable
2) Some people may exaggerate their criminal acts, forget some of them, or be confused
about what is being asked
Aging Out vs. Age of Onset
Aging Out: Phrase used to express the fact that people commit less crime as they mature
into adults and settle down in their lives.