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Presentation on theme: "CRIME AND JUSTICE IN AMERICA"— Presentation transcript:

Crime in America Defining crime How much crime is there? Criminal victimization Crime and justice as public policy issues

2 Crime in America Crime in American History and trends in the level of crime Crime in America compared to other industrialized countries

3 Defining Crime What is crime? Sources of definitions of crime
Who makes the decisions? Consensus model Conflict model

4 Crime Defined A specific act of commission or omission in violation of the law for which a punishment is prescribed.

5 Consensus Model Law reflects the need for order.
Law results from a consensus on widely shared values in society. Law is an impartial system to protect the public. Law provides neutral means of resolving disputes.

6 Conflict Model • Politically powerful groups influence the content of criminal law. • “Mala prohibita” offenses are prohibited by government but not wrong in themselves. (Cf. “mala in se” – wrong in themselves). • Harsh penalties are sometimes enforced on the poor or disadvantaged while the powerful are given lighter sentences.

7 Types of Crime Level of crime Categories of crime Misdemeanor Felony
Occupational crime Organized crime Visible crime Crimes without victims Political crimes

8 Types of Occupational Crime
Committed in the context of legal business or profession: - For the benefit of the employing organization. - Through the exercise of government authority. - Professional crimes by doctors, lawyers or stockbrokers. - Employee theft, false claims or embezzlement.

9 Organized Crime A framework for the perpetuation of criminal acts - usually in fields such as gambling, drugs, and prostitution - providing illegal services that are in great demand.

10 Visible Crime (street crime)
Offenses against persons and property committed primarily by members of the lower class. Most upsetting to the public.

11 Crimes Without Victims
Offenses involving a willing and private exchange of illegal goods and services that are in strong demand. Participants do not feel they are being harmed, but these crimes are prosecuted on the ground that society as a whole is injured. Includes activities such as: Gambling Drug Sales and Use Prostitution

12 Political Crimes Acts that constitute a threat against the state such as treason, sedition (rebellion), or espionage.

13 Cybercrime Use of computers and internet Various different types
Information theft Vice Embezzlement “Vandalism” (i.e. hacking)

14 How much crime is there? Measuring crime Uniform crime reports
National crime victimization survey Trends in crime

15 How is Crime…. ? Measured? Defined? Counted?

16 Major Uniform Crime Report Index Crime Groups
VIOLENT CRIME NON-VIOLENT CRIME Murder and non-negligent manslaughter Aggravated assault Forcible rape Robbery * Burglary * Larceny/theft * Motor vehicle theft * Arson

17 Assessment of Uniform Crime Reports
Not all crime is reported. Administrative errors in recording data: Interpreting UCR definitions. Systematic counting errors. Deliberately altered or manipulated data. Methodological problems.

18 Revising the UCR - NIBRS
Definitions of crimes will be revised. More crimes will be included in each category. Other changes to make the data more accurate. UCR

19 National Crime Victim Survey
Data is gathered by the Bureau of Census and compiled by the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Sample includes 100,000 people in 50,000 households. Respondents are over the age of 12. Respondents queried every six months about household and personal victimizations.

20 NCVS Crimes Rape Robbery (personal) Assault (aggravated and simple)
Household burglary Larceny (personal and household) Motor vehicle theft

21 Comparison – UCR vs. NCVS
Scope - Both reported and unreported to police. Nation as a whole. Collection Method - Survey Interview Kinds of Information - Details about victims and crimes - reported and unreported. Use of weapons, injuries, economic effects. Sponsor - Bureau of Justice Statistics. Scope - Crimes reported to the police in most jurisdictions Collection Method - Police departments and FBI Kinds of Information - Offense counts; crime clearances; persons arrested, persons charged; officers killed, characteristics of homicide victims. Sponsor - FBI

22 Crime Trends,

23 Explaining Crime Trends
Crime rates are not steadily rising. Most property crimes have dropped. Violent crime has dropped since 1993. Males are the most crime prone group. Violent Crime Crime in General

24 Youth Population and Crime

25 CRIME VICTIMIZATION Victimology Who is victimized? The impact of crime
Fear of crime Victims in the criminal justice system

26 Victimology – the study of victims
Emerged in the 1950s Change in the way that we study crime New focus Who is victimized? Impact of crime Role of victims in Criminal Justice process

27 Who are the victims of crime?
Where Does Crime Take Place? Module

28 Relative victimization rates

29 Intra vs. Inter racial crime

30 Why some people are victims

31 The Impact of Crime Economic costs Psychological and social costs
Criminal justice system operating costs

32 Fear of Crime Limits freedom
Sometimes out of proportion to actual risk Increasing

33 Victims in the Criminal Justice system
Victims often overlooked System becoming more sensitive Role of victims in crime


35 Women and Crime Little early research New theories
Increasingly arrested

36 Crime and Justice as Public Policy Issues
Maintaining order vs. protecting rights Differing perspectives on the causes of crime and its cures


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