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Chapter2 - Introduction to Criminal Justice Criminal Crime...

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Unformatted text preview: Introduction to Criminal Justice Criminal Crime and Its Consequences Chapter Two Bohm and Haley The object of criminal justice in the The United States is to prevent and control crime. Therefore, to understand criminal justice, it is necessary to understand crime. Definitions of Crime Definitions Social Definition of Crime Crime is behavior that violates the norms of society. Norms are determined by society and include informal standards or rules that define what people should or should not think or do. Considerations: Norms vary; norms are subject to interpretation; and norms change over time and from place to place. Definitions of Crime Definitions Legal Definition of Crime Crime is the intentional violation of the criminal law or penal code, committed without defense or excuse and penalized by the state. Considerations: Over­criminalization, non­ enforcement, and under­criminalization. Elements of Crime Elements Harm: The external consequence required to make an action a crime. Legality: The requirement (1) that a harm must be legally forbidden for the behavior to be a crime and (2) that the law must not be retroactive, i.e., ex post facto. Actus Reus: Criminal conduct that is intentional or criminally negligent (reckless) action or inaction that causes harm. Mens Rea: Criminal intent; a guilty state of mind. Causation: A causal relationship between the legal harm and the actus reus. Concurrence: The criminal conduct (actus reus) and the criminal intent (mens reus) must occur together. Punishment: An enforceable statutory provision (law). Question Question What are some examples of legal defenses for criminal responsibility? Categories of Crime Categories Felonies:* serious crime punishable by death, fine, confinement (prison) for more than a year. Mala in se: crimes wrong in themselves. Crimes characterized by universality and timelessness, i.e., murder and rape. Misdemeanor:* lesser crime – not a felony, punishment by no more than $1,000 and one year maximum in a county/city jail. * Felony or misdemeanor is determined by legislated punishment by jurisdiction. Mala prohibita: crimes are defined by laws. Lacks universality and timelessness, i.e., gambling, trespassing, and prostitution. Methods of Measuring Crime Methods Uniform Crime Reports Self- Report Surveys Victim Surveys Uniform Crime Reports Uniform Based on crimes reported to the police. Based on a population unit of 100,000. Divided into two representative categories: Indexed and non­Indexed. Categories counted differently. Many problems with accuracy. Uniform Crime Reports Uniform Indexed Crimes Violent Crime Non­Indexed Crimes Criminal Homicide Forcible Rape Robbery Aggravated assault Burglary Larceny/theft Motor vehicle theft Arson Non-violent Non-violent Crime All others Question Question What is a status offense? Problems With UCR Data Problems No federal crimes are included* Reports are voluntary – vary in accuracy and completeness. Not all police departments submit reports Only the most serious crime is recorded Definitions of crimes vary * Data is accumulated and processed by the FBI. The Future of the Uniform Crime Reports Crime National Incident­Based Reporting System (NIBRS) (1991) Maintained by the F.B.I. Twenty­two crime categories (46 offenses) More information on each crime in each category Data compiled based on incidents, not arrests. As of 2004, 29 states were NIBRS certified. CLEARANCE RATE CLEARANCE The clearance rate for crimes is when at least one The person is arrested, charged, and turned over to court for prosecution. Of all crimes reported to the police, 20­21 percent are cleared by arrest. (50 % for violent crimes and 18% for property crimes). CRIMES CLEARED BY ARREST, 2004 CRIMES 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Murder Assault Rape Robbery Larceny Mtr Veh Theft Burglary Murder 62.6% Assault 55.6% Rape 41.8% Robbery Larceny 26.2% 18.3% Veh Tft 13% Burglary 12.9% CRIME RATE CRIME The crime rate is computed by the number of crimes reported to the police. Number of Reported Crimes x 100,000 = Rate per 100,000 Total U.S. Population CRIME VICTIM SURVEYS CRIME Asks victims about their encounters with criminals. Uses sampling techniques. May also describe people most at risk. Potential measurement problems include: 1) Over and Under reporting 2) Sampling Errors 3) Inadequate question format 4) Inability to record activity QUESTIONS QUESTIONS What is the National Crime Victimization Study? What are some findings of the NCVS? Self Reported Crime Self Participants reveal information about their violations of the Participants reveal information about their violations of the law Helps to get at the “Dark Figure of Crime” Helps to get at the “Dark Figure of Crime” Supplements and expands official data Supplements and expands official data Validity and reliability better than expected by Validity and reliability better than expected by many Accuracy for chronic offenders and drug abusers may be Accuracy for chronic offenders and drug abusers may be limited Example: The National Youth Survey Example: The National Youth Survey Trends in Violent Crime Trends Violent crimes in 2000 were the lowest since 1985 Violent crime was down 25.5% since 1996 Current decline seems to be stabilizing 1986 2000 Trends in Property Crime Trends 10.2 million in 2000 -down 21.4 % from 1991 -Rate of decline is stabilizing 1991 2000 Questions Questions What are some possible reasons for the declining crime rates. What might reverse the downward trend? Cost of Crime Cost Economic loss to victims in the U.S. was $15 billion (2003). Tangible costs include: costs of the criminal justice process, security devices bought for protection, losses to businesses, and losses from corporate crimes. Intangible costs: pain, suffering, and reduced quality of life. Estimated total cost: $450 billion annually. Fear of Crime Fear Fear of crime can be the most burdensome and lasting consequence of victimization. Fear of crime is contagious. What People Fear: 40% of Americans are fearful of a specific type of crime. 80% of Americans are fearful of crime in general. Victims Victims Victimization, like fear, is not spread evenly through the U.S. population. The most likely victims of violent crime are: Younger (age 12­24) Never married, divorced, or separated Poor Black Urban residents Male Living in the West ...
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