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A Descriptive Report On The Characteristics Of Crime

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Autor:  cat_91  09 November 2009
Words: 2016   |   Pages: 9
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Crime refers to many types of misconduct forbidden by law. Crimes

include such things as murder, stealing a car, resisting arrest, possessing or

selling illegal drugs, appearing nude on a public street, drunken driving, and

bank robbery. The list of acts considered crimes is constantly changing. For

example, at one time, people were charged with witchcraft, but this is no longer

illegal. Today, it is becoming a serious crime to pollute the air and water.

In colonial days, pollution received little attention because it caused few

problems. During the 1700's in England it was not a crime for people to steal

money entrusted to their care by an employer. Today, this type of theft,

embezzlement, is a crime.

Crimes may be classified in various ways. For example, they sometimes

are grouped according to the seriousness of the offense, according to the

motives of the offenders. Such crimes may include economic crimes, political

crimes, crimes of passion, organized crime, and white collar crime. Crimes are

often divided between acts that most people would consider evil and acts that

lawmakers decide should be regulated in the interest of the community. The

first group includes such major crimes as arson, assault, breach of the peace,

burglary, kidnapping, larceny, murder, rape, and robbery. The second group

includes crimes of a фrapidly growing urban society.ц These crimes include

violations of income tax laws, liquor control regulations, pure food and drug

laws, and traffic laws. Crimes in the first group usually involve severe

punishments while crimes in the second group are generally punished by fines,

notices to follow the court's orders, or other relatively light penalties.

Crimes are frequently classified according to their seriousness as

felonies or misdemeanors. Generally, felonies are more serious than

misdemeanors. Under the federal criminal law system, felonies are crimes for

which the punishment is death or imprisonment for more than a year. A

misdemeanor is punishable by a fine or by imprisonment for less than a year. In

most states persons convicted of felonies are sent to state prisons, while those

quilty of misdemeanors serve their sentence in city or county jails or houses of


Crimes against people include assault, kidnapping, murder, and sexual

attacks. Such crimes usually bring severe punishments. Crimes against property

include arson, automobile theft, burglary, embezzlement, forgery, fraud, larceny,

and vandalism. In most cases, these crimes carry lighter penalties than do

crimes against persons. Robbery is the crime most difficult to classify. The

law considers robbery a crime against the person or against the property,

according to the case. Robbery may involve simply taking property from another

person. But a personal encounter occurs between the robber and his victim, and

it may include violence and bodily harm, especially in muggings or other strong-

arm robberies. Robbery is probably the crime most people have in mind when they

speak of фcrime in the streets .ц

Crimes against public order or morality include disorderly conduct,

gambling, prostitution, public drunkenness, and vagrancy. These offenses

generally involve lighter penalties than do crimes against people or property.

Criminologists question whether some offenses against public order or morality

should be considered crimes. For example, many experts believe that habitual

drunkenness is a medical problem and that the offender should be given medical

help instead of being put in jail. There is also widespread disagreement about

whether certain practices hurt society and should be considered crimes. Such

acts include gambling, use of marijuana, and homosexuality between consenting


Organized crime consists of large-scale activities by groups of

gangsters or racketeers. Such groups are often called the Ñ„crime syndicate or

the underworld.ц Organized crime specializes in providing illegal goods and

services. Its activities include gambling, prostitution, the illegal sale of

drugs, and loaning money at extremely high rates of interest. Many of these

activities are often called фvictimless crimesц because both the buyer and the

seller take part in them willingly. Most activities of the crime syndicate are

not reported to the police. People who use the illegal services try to avoid

the police because they do not want to be associated with that kind of people.

When the crime syndicate invades a legitimate business or labor union, it uses

terror, blackmail, and other methods to keep people from going to the police.

Even when the illegal activities are discovered, prosecutors have difficulty

convicting the gangsters because of the lack of reliable witnesses. In addition,

the syndicate frequently tries to bribe witnesses or law officers and sometimes

succeeds in doing so. The syndicate also furnishes bail money and lawyers for

members who are arrested. Gangsters have two main goals and they are money and

power. No one knows how much of each that they truly have, but investigations

have shown that organized crime is a multimillion-dollar business and that

gangsters have considerable political control.

White collar crime originally included only criminal acts committed by

businessmen and professional people while earning their living. The term

referred to such crimes as stock market swindles and other kinds of fraud.

Today, the term covers such acts as cheating in the payment taxes, which can be

done in connection to your business. It may apply to petty thefts by employees,

as well as to million dollar stock market swindles. It could also include a

service stations owner's charging for an automobile repair that was not made, or

a physician's billing a patient for services that were not performed. Many

consumer protection laws are aimed at whitecollar crime. these laws regulate

business and professional activities to protect consumers. During the 1960's

and early 1970's, consumer protection became one of the fastest growing fields

of criminal law. In the United States, for example, the federal government

developed new rules and penalties. The regulations were intended to control air

and water pollution, to prevent fraudulent trade practices, and to alert people

seeking loans about actual interest costs.

Crime is one of the world's oldest social problems. Almost every

generation has felt itself threatened by increasing crime and violence. However,

no country has yet developed completely reliable methods for measuring the

volume and trend of crime. The FBI serves as the main source of information

about crime and violence in the United States. The FBI has maintained national

crime statistics for nearly 70 years. the FBI receives monthly and annual

crime reports from the law enforcement agencies throughout the country which is

later summarized and published in semiannual and annual Uniform Crime Reports

for the United States. The seven most popular crimes reported to the police

according to the FBI are aggravated assault, forcible rape, murder, nonegligent

manslaughter, burglary, larcenytheft, and motor vehicle theft. One fourth of

the arrests each year are due to serious crimes while one fifth of all the

arrests are due to three relatively minor offenses; drunkenness, disorderly

conduct, and vagrancy. Here is a table that I found pretty interesting.

Most Frequent Arrests in the United States

Statistics about crime are based on complaints to the police, offenses

observed by the police, and arrests of suspects. The cost of crimes to its

victims is impossible to determine accurately. For example, a dishonest

business scheme may cost consumers or investors millions of dollars, but no

records are kept of such losses. Just like there is no way to determine the

profits of the crime syndicate of gambling, loan-sharking, narcotics sales, and

prostitution. The cost of crime prevention and control measures is also

difficult to determine. Expenditures for the law enforcement and the criminal

justice agencies in the United States total more than 4 billion dollars annually.

However, these agencies also deal with many noncriminal matters such as traffic

control. Perhaps only 10 to 15 per cent of police costs can be directly

charged to crime control. Also, most courts handle both criminal and civil


People commit crimes for various reasons. For example, many persons

steal things they could not obtain otherwise. Others, such as drug addicts,

steal to get money to buy narcotics or other things they need. Some shoplifters

steal for excitement, but others do so to stretch the family budget. Many

automobile thieves take cars for the joy-riding, but others strip down the

stolen autos and sell them. Many embezzlers take money from their employers to

meet a personal emergency, intending to return the money. The motives also vary

in crimes of violence. A robber may kill his victim to avoid detection, some

gangsters torture people to obtain money, and a man may beat his wife in a fit

of rage during a quarrel.

Many studies have sought to explain crime. Most of them compare to

habitiual criminals with persons who have not been convicted of crimes to try to

find important differences between the two groups. Yet, none of these studies

have proved that criminals have any physical traits that make them different

from other people. Research by psychiatrists and psychologists stresses

personality differences resulting from experiences in childhood or later. This

research shows that many people who became criminals were neglected by their

parents or were given harsh or uncertain discipline. Such treatment left them

insecure and demanding in their relations with others. Their own wants made

them ignore the needs and rights of others. Ñ„But researchers have had

difficulty making a direct connection between emotional needs and crime because

many people with emotional problems find acceptable ways of solving them.ц

Sociologists have conducted crime studies that focus on the neighborhood

and community rather than on the individual. These studies deal with how a

person becomes committed to a career of crime, and others try to explain

differences in crime rate. The highest crime rates rates occur in the most

deprived sections of large cities. These are the areas where it is most

difficult to train children to become law-abiding citizens. Ñ„Such areas have

the highest rate of broken homes.ц Even in many homes where both parents are

present, emotional conflicts and health and financial problems affect family

life. Slum areas usually have the poorest schools and the highest unemployment

rates. these neighborhoods have a lot of run down, over crowded housing and

poor recreational facilities. For many young people, the excitement of the

streets provides the principal escape from boredom and seemingly unsolvable

problems. Ñ„These streets are also the scene of much vice and crime--gambling,

prostitution, narcotics use and sale, public drunkenness, and acts of violence.ц

Law enforcement in the inner city is difficult, partly because too few policemen

patrol the neighborhoods. In addition, many of the people fear the police and

refuse to cooperate with them. All these factors increase the possibility that

a person who lives in a slum will commit criminal acts.

Most residents of the high-crime slum areas of many large cities are

negroes or members of other minority groups. As a result, the crime rate for

such minority groups is higher than that for the white majority group.

Nonwhites are also more likely to become the victims of crimes. Most crimes in

the United States are committed by boys and young men. People under the age of

21 account for about three fifths of the arrests for burglary, larceny-theft,

and motor vehicle theft. This same group makes up about 40 per cent of all

persons arrested for aggravated assault, forcible rape, murder, and robbery.

There are several reasons why young people commit most crimes. As people become

older and settled in their jobs and the фrearing of children,ц they acquire a

place in society that they do not want to lose by taking such a big risk. On

the other hand, young people have fewer job opportunities. The unskilled jobs

available seem dull when compared to the quick and exciting returns from theft.

young people are also more willing to risk arrest and loss of reputation because

they have less of a risk. About 85 per cent of the persons arrested for crimes

are males, but the arrest rate for females is rapidly rising.

I really enjoyed writing this paper, it was supposed to be about

violence but everywhere I looked, there was barely anything on violence and

there was almost always a reference to crime so this is more of a paper on crime.

To do this paper I did a lot of searching on the internet and it was just

unbelievable the things that I found. The stats are incredible and so is the

wide diversity of the types of crimes committed. While writing this paper it

made me think of events that I have seen or heard of that are crime related

which really expanded my horizons.


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