Crime is an anti-social behavior that violates public sentiment. It will be a myth to think about a crimeless society. Crime is, in fact, a great problem for each and every society. Crime is an unlawful act and the same is against the public. It is harmful not only to the affected person. but also the whole society. That is why, it is not tolerated by the society and law.
(2) Definition Of Crime
(i) Literal Meaning
Crime was originated from a Latin expression. This Latin expression is “Krimos”, which means social order. In simple words, crime means an act that is against social order and is condemnable.
(ii) Social Meaning
Crime can be defined as a form of deviance from social norms. It is, in fact, a deviant behavior against social norms.
(iii) Legal Meaning
(a) Punishable Act
Crime can be defined as an act that is punishable by law.
(b) Commission Of Act
Crime can be defined as an act that is committed in violation of public law, which forbids this act.
(c) Omission Of Act
Crime can be defined as an act that is omitted in violation of public law, which commands this act.
(d) Forbidden Act
Crime can be defined as an act that is forbidden by law and is revolting to the moral sentiments of the society.
(e) Disobedience Or Violation Of Law
Crime can be defined as disobedience or violation of law.
(3) Types Of Crime
Followings are types of crime
- (i) Crimes against person
- (ii) Crimes against property
- (iii) Crimes against morality
- (iiv) Hate crimes
- (v) White-collar crimes
- (vi) Corporate crimes
- (vii) Organized crimes
- (viii) Cyber-crimes
- (ix) Street crimes
- (x) Sex crimes
(i) Crimes Against Person
Crimes against person can be defined as those crimes, which are against people and involve violence or threat of violence.
Crimes against person can be explained in the following words:
- (a) Personal crimes
- (a) Violent crimes
- (a) Examples
(a) Personal Crimes
They are also called personal crimes.
(a) Violent Crimes
They are violent crimes because they involve violence of threat of violence.
Murder, robbery and rape are crimes against person.
(ii) Crimes Against Property
Crimes against property can be defined as theft of property without causing any bodily harm.
Crimes against property can be explained in the following words:
- (a) Property crimes
- (b) Examples
(a) Property Crimes
They are also known as property crimes.
Burglary, larceny-theft, auto theft and arson are examples of crimes against property.
(iii) Crimes Against Morality
Crimes against morality can be defined as those crimes, which involve commission of morally prohibited acts.
Crimes against morality can be explained in the following words:
- (a) Victimless crimes
- (b) Examples
(a) Victimless Crimes
They are also called victimless crimes because there are no apparent victims of these crimes.
Gambling, prostitution and use of illegal drugs are examples of crimes against morality.
(iv) Hate Crimes
Hate crimes can be defined as those criminal acts, which are motivated by racial or other bias.
Verbal abuse, harassment and obscene/offensive calls, texts, mails or emails are examples of hate crimes.
(v) White-Collar Crimes
White-collar crimes can be defined as those crimes, which people of high social status commit in context of their occupations.
Tax evasion, embezzling and violations of income tax laws are examples of white-collar crimes.
(vi) Corporate Crimes
Corporate crimes can be defined as those crimes, which are committed either by a corporation or by individuals acting on behalf of a corporation or by other business entity.
Violations of environmental laws, corporate fraud and bribery are examples of corporate crimes.
(vii) Organized Crimes
Organized crimes can be explained as those crimes, which structured groups commit and which involve distribution of illegal goods and service to others.
Drug trade, weapons smuggling and money laundering are examples of organized crimes.
Cyber-crimes can be defined as illegal activities, which are carried out with a computer over a network such as the internet.
Identity and data theft, internet fraud and hacking are examples of cyber-crimes.
(ix) Street Crimes
Street crimes can be defined as those criminal offenses, which happen in public places.
Snatching of cash and valuables, looting of pedestrians and gold snatching are examples of street crimes.
Sex crimes can be defined in the following words:
- (a) Violence
- (b) Lack of consent
- (c) Incapable to give consent
Sex crimes are a category of offenses that generally arise when violence occurs during a sexual act.
(b) Lack Of Consent
Sex crimes are a category of offenses that generally arise when there is a lack of consent by one party to the sexual act.
(c) Incapable To Give Consent
Sex crimes are a category of offenses that generally arise when someone engages in sex with an individual, who is legally incapable of consent.
(4) Crime Is A Social Phenomenon
It is due to following reasons that crime is a social phenomenon:
- (i) Key principles
- (ii) Different sociological theories
- (iii) Examples from Pakistani society
(i) Key Principles
Following principles support this concept that crime is a social phenomenon:
- (a) Socially Constructed Causes
- (b) Role of society & environment
(a) Socially constructed causes
People are not born criminals because there are socially constructed causes of commission of crimes. Crimes are committed due to socially constructed causes like poverty. corruption, unemployment, inflation etc.
(b) Role Society & Environment
Crime is beyond individual because society itself compels the individual to commit crime and environment is the root cause of commission of crime.
(ii) Different Sociological Theories
There are different sociological theories that suggest that crime is a social phenomenon:
- (a) Labeling theory
- (b) Social learning theory
- (c) Social conflict theory
- (d) Social disorganization theory
(a) Labeling Theory
This theory suggests that crime is socially constructed. Therefore, crime is a social phenomenon:
- (a-i) Behavior
- (a-ii) Labeling
Behavior of a person is influenced by the way other members in the society label him: if other members label him as criminal, he becomes criminal.
A person becomes criminal only when society labels him as a criminal. Once a person is labeled as criminal. it remains extremely difficult for him to remove this label, and consequently he accepts the label as his personal identity. In this way, he becomes a criminal and remains a criminal.
(b) Social Learning Theory
Social learning theory states that people learn from one another through observation, imitation or modeling. They also learn crimes from one another. Therefore, crime is a social phenomenon.
(c) Social Conflict Theory
Social conflict theory states that society compels the individual to commit crime: class differences and unequal distribution of wealth, resources and power compel the individual to commit crime. Therefore, crime is a social phenomenon.
(d) Social Disorganization Theory
Social disorganization theory states that criminals are product of society: different sociological factors like neighbourhood, family, poverty etc. are the main causes due to which an individual becomes a criminal. Therefore, crime is a social phenomenon.
(iii) Examples From Pakistani Society
People are not born criminals. The causes of crimes are socially constructed. This concept is true as far Pakistani society is concerned. The Pakistani are not born criminals too. Rather causes of their crimes are socially constructed:
- (a) Unemployment Poverty
- (b) Inflation
- (c) Corruption
An increase in unemployment lessens the opportunity to carn. And this social situation instigates the individuals to commit crimes. The same is happening in Pakistani society.
People in poverty are usually induced to commit crimes. The same social factor is instigating the poor Pakistani to commit crime.
Inflation is another social cause due to which crimes are committed. The increasing inflation in Pakistan is also a cause of commission of crime.
Corruption is socially constructed cause of crimes. Corruption is the major cause of white-collar crimes in Pakistani society.
It can be finally stated that history is crime not a new concept or term. It is as old as history of mankind. Crimes have always plagued every society in human history. Crime is a major source of insecurity and discomfort in every society. It causes feeling of insecurity and fear not only to the victims, but also to the people, who have not been its victim. In fact, it produces enormous monetary and psychological effects on the whole society.