2 Introductory information… Crime (def): any act that is labeled as such by authorities, is prohibited by law, and is punishable by the government.Who commits crimes? Arrests are tracked by sex, race & age. The stats support the ideas that men are more likely than women to be arrested; African Americans account for nearly 30% of arrests; and almost half of all people arrested are under the age of 35! Criminal stats are compiled in the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) published annually by the FBI. REMEMBER – not all crimes are reported (see p. 189).UCR report FBI link
3 5 CATEGORIES OF CRIME Violent crime Crime against property Victimless crimeWhile collar crimeOrganized crime*Possible 6th category = Terrorism
4 VIOLENT CRIMES…VIOLENT CRIME: includes murder, forcible rape, robbery (The taking of money or goods in the possession of another, from his or her person or immediate presence, by force or intimidation) and aggravated assault (a reckless attack with intent to injure seriously (as with a deadly weapon)actually count for only a small percentage of all crimes committed.A violent crime occurs every 22 seconds in the US; most victims of violent crime are African American; majority of murders are committed with guns – US has highest rate for this in the industrialized world!
5 CRIME AGAINST PROPERTY… Includes burglary, larceny (theft other than auto), motor vehicle theft & arson. These crimes are much more common than violent crimes – in fact, FBI estimates that a property crime occurs every 3 seconds in the US.There is a connection between demographics & the crime rate. Since most crimes are committed by people < age 35, as that portion of the population increases or decreases, so does the crime rate.
6 VICTIMLESS CRIME…This includes prostitution, illegal gambling, illegal drug use & vagrancy (without a permanent home or a means of livelihood). The only person harmed by these crimes is the person who commits them. However, often these crimes have significant social consequences – thus – society becomes the “victim” of these supposedly “victimless” crimes.
7 WHITE COLLAR CRIME…This category includes offenses committed by people of high social status in the course of their professional lives. Politicians, corporate employees, & sometimes even corporations themselves (corporations are considered legal persons under the law) – commit white collar crimes. Offenses include fraud, embezzlement, tax evasion, toxic pollution, insider trading, & police corruption. While these crimes are often viewed as less serious than the other categories, they can be very costly to society as a whole (est. $300 billion per year) & they also abuse the trust of society. top 10 white collar crimes
8 ORGANIZED CRIME…A crime syndicate is a large-scale organization of professional criminals that controls some vice (gambling, prostitution, drug dealing) or business through violence or the threat of violence. These organizations pursue crime as a business. Often they use legitimate businesses as “fronts” for their criminal activity, allowing them to reinvest their $$ through legal channels. They are difficult to bring down & often are able to make huge profits.
9 THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM All crimes fall under their jurisdiction. The system includes 3 components: police, courts, and corrections.POLICE: they control who is arrested for a criminal act. They have considerable power to decide who is arrested (“police discretion”). They will consider the seriousness of the offense; the wishes of the victim; the attitude of the suspect; whether the crime was witnessed or not; and the race of the offender (“racial profiling”).
10 THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM COURTS: two-fold responsibility – to determine guilt/innocence; and to assign some form of punishment. However, 90% of all criminal cases are settled through plea bargaining (process of legal negotiation that allows accused to plead guilty to a lesser charge in return for a lighter sentence) and never go to trial. This practice allows courts to maintain a manageable case load.
11 THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM CORRECTIONS: This includes the sanctions (prison, parole, probation) used to punish criminals. Corrections serve 4 functions:RETRIBUTIONDETERRENCEREHABILITATIONSOCIAL PROTECTIONThe effectiveness of corrections is a hotly debated topic, especially considering the high recidivism rate (repeated criminal behavior) that indicates the current system is not functioning well.
12 JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM This system was created to handle criminal acts committed by individuals < 18 yrs. Of age. It didn’t exist until the 1960’s – prior to that laws for juveniles were vague as they were not expected to be as responsible as adult offenders. Juveniles are now guaranteed the same legal rights as adults but are still regarded as special offenders & are provided with more services to help rehabilitate them. However, some juveniles who commit very serious crimes may be charged as adult offenders.Juvenile offender doc Florida case