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JEANNETTE SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL Crime in America. The Nature of Crimes Crime – Something one does or fails to do in violation of a law Crimes are behaviors.

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Presentation on theme: "JEANNETTE SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL Crime in America. The Nature of Crimes Crime – Something one does or fails to do in violation of a law Crimes are behaviors."— Presentation transcript:


2 The Nature of Crimes Crime – Something one does or fails to do in violation of a law Crimes are behaviors for which a government has set a penalty Decisions as to what constitutes a crime are made by legislatures Goals of laws: Protect human rights for all Regulate human conduct so that people can live in harmony

3 The Nature of Crimes Crime victims are also victims of human rights violations People have a right to ownership of their own property What crime violates this human right? People have a right to personal security What crimes violate this human right?

4 The Nature of Crimes Crime rates are higher in urban areas than in suburban or rural areas Youths between the ages of 15 and 24 commit more violent crimes than any other group Males commit almost four times as many crimes as females The victim knows the offender in half of all crimes

5 The Causes of Crimes What causes crime? Poverty Unemployment Lack of education Breakdown in morals Lack of parental guidance Abuse of drugs and alcohol Inadequate police protection Ineffective correctional system

6 The Causes of Crimes Will tougher penalties prevent crime? The United States has the highest incarceration rate of any industrialized country

7 Criminal Law Almost all crimes require an act, accompanied by a guilty state of mind Guilty State of Mind – The act must be done intentionally, knowingly, or willfully Motive – The reason the act is performed Example – Robin Hood Motive = Steal from the rich, give to the poor Guilty State of Mind = Intentional stealing

8 Criminal Considerations Crimes are made up of elements Prosecutors must prove: A guilty mental state Every element of the crime was committed Example – Robbery Robbery is the unlawful taking and carrying away of goods or money from someone’s person by force or intimidation Elements of robbery: The taking and carrying away of goods or money The taking from someone’s person Use of force or intimidation

9 State and Federal Crimes State Crimes: Assault Disorderly Conduct Drunk Driving Prosecuted in state court (unless in a national park) Federal Crimes: Mail fraud Failure to pay federal taxes Acts of terrorism

10 Classes of Crime & Parties to Crime Felony = Imprisonment for more than one year Misdemeanor = Imprisonment less than one year Principal – Person who commits a crime Accomplice – Someone who helps another person commit a crime Example – Driving the getaway car after a robbery Accessory before the fact – A person who helps the principal but is not present for the crime Accessory after the fact – A person who, knowing a crime has been committed, still helps the principal escape

11 Crimes of Omission Most crimes occur when a person does something or performs an act that violates a law Sometimes a person may be criminally liable for failing to act Examples of omission: Failing to pay taxes Child neglect Crime of omission – Failing to perform an act required by criminal law

12 Preliminary Crimes Certain types of behavior take place before the commission of a crime but are nevertheless crimes in themselves Solicitation – Attempting to ask or purchase goods/services Example – Asking another person to kill someone Attempt – Someone performs all the elements of a crime, but fails to achieve the actual criminal results Example – Attempted murder Conspiracy – Agreement between two or more people to commit a crime

13 Crimes Against the Person These crimes are serious offenses with harsh punishments Laws protect defendants by defining various levels of crimes Examples of crimes against the person: Homicide – The killing of another human being First-degree murder – Premeditated killing Second-degree murder – Killing with no premeditation Voluntary manslaughter – Killing occurs after the victim has done something to cause a reasonable person to lose control Example – Catching a cheating spouse Involuntary manslaughter – Unintentional killing resulting from reckless conduct (Accidental killing with a loaded gun)

14 Crimes Against the Person Assault – Attempt or threat to carry out a physical attack Battery – Unlawful physical contact inflicted by one person upon another Aggravated battery defined by harm inflicted (simple assault) Rape – Unlawful sexual intercourse without consent Statutory rape – Sexual intercourse before a person has reached the legal age of consent Pennsylvania’s age of consent = 16

15 Crimes Against Property Property crimes include destroying or stealing property Arson – Willful and malicious burning of another person’s property Vandalism – Willful destruction of property Larceny – Unlawful taking of property (Grand and Petty) Embezzlement – Taking of property by someone to whom it was entrusted (stockbroker taking $ that should be invested) Extortion – Use of threats to obtain the property of another

16 Crimes Against Property Crime prevention techniques: Security lighting Security cameras Locking doors/windows Home alarm systems Automobile alarm systems

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