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 and 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 rapidly growing urban society. 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 qualities of misdemeanors serve their sentence in city or county jails or houses of correction.
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 crime in the streets. 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 adults. Organized crime consists of large-scale activities by groups of gangsters or racketeers. Such groups are often called the crime syndicate or the underworld. 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 victimless crimes 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 those 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 white-collar 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, no negligent manslaughter, burglary, larceny \ theft 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 no criminal 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 cases. 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 habitual 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 stress 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. 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. 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 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. Such areas have the highest rate of broken homes. 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. These streets are also the scene of much vice and crime - gambling, prostitution, narcotics use and sale, public drunkenness and acts of violence. 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 rearing of children, 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.