What is the Concept of Crime

What is Crime?

A crime is a public wrong. It is an act strongly unacceptable by society. Crime includes murder, fraud, rape, etc. Each society has its own viewpoint of defining crime. There should be a criminal intent and a criminal act to commit a crime. No individual is a born criminal. An individual’s criminal intent and behavior are the result of various social, economic, biological and psychological causes. This article focuses on the concept of crime, its elements, criminology, individual phases of committing crime, causes of crime and types of crime.

Concept of crime: The definition of Crime is “an act or omission prohibited by law”. It is punishable by imprisonment or with a fine. The term crime derives from the Latin word “crimen” which means “offense” and “offender”. Crime is consider as anti-social behaviour.

A crime can be legal or illegal. It is an unlawful and punishable offense to violate any rule of administration or law of the state, or to practice any act unlawful and harmful to oneself or to third parties, as provided in the criminal law. All acts of self-defense are a legal and not punishable crime.

Introduction to Concept of Crime:

It is belief that man is evolve from an ape-like ancestor. With the evolution of man, their mind and thinking also evolved. On that time man uses raw leaves, insects and animals as food. Later, when they discover fire, they came in knowledge that food tastes better when it is cooked. They use animal skin to cover their body. They use to live in caves to protect themself from the extremes of climatic conditions.

From raw leaves to pizzas and hamburgers, from fire to microwave ovens, from animal skins to pepe jeans, reebok shoes, etc. Also from caves to skyscrapers, we can see how the human mind and thinking evolved and led to modern conveniences and luxury living. Thinking has evolved in both positive and negative perspectives. Although the human mind created luxuries, due to the current increase in population, many people have been deprive of basic necessities, which led to the development of negative thinking. People want to satisfy their basic needs at any cost and that is why they start resorting to crime.

A crime is offence that violates the laws of the state and is not acceptable by society. In ancient times, crime was not very high. But as time changes, crime increases critically. This increase in crime can be due to various causes and social problems.

This article focuses on the concept of crime, signs of crime, criminology, individual stages of crime, causes of crime and types of crime.

What is Criminology and Penology under concept of crime?

In the Concept of Crime, there are two main term- criminology and penology. The scientific study of the nature, extent, causes and control of criminal behavior in individuals and in society can refer as criminology.
Whereas, penology is the study of punishment for the Crime.

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What are the Elements of Crime?

The following four elements requires to complete the act of Crime:

  • Individual:  The first and most important element for the commission of a crime is an individual, who has the intention and is ready to commit the crime.
  • Mens rea:  Mens rea is Latin word which means “guilty mind.” For criminal act, bad intention is a necessary for the commission of a crime.
  • Actus rea:  Actus rea means “guilty act” in Latin. In order for a crime to be committed, there should be an external act along with the criminal intent.
  • Injury/Hurt:  The crime should be accompanied by physical, mental or financial injury that is in violation of state law.

Stages of committing crime:

It includes total Four Stages, they are :-

  • Intention:  To commit a Crime, the first important stage is the intention to do Crime. However, merely having a criminal intent is not a Crime until it is communicate to someone else by words or actions. Example: Intent to kill someone.
  • Ground work:  Prior preparation is necessary to commit a Crime if the crime is intentional. It is difficult for a court to punish an individual purely on the basis of a plan of preparation until and unless it is executed. For example murder, dacoits etc.
  •  Preparation of the Crime:  An attempt to commit a crime is consider as crime of preparation. An attempt should include criminal intention, an act directed toward the commission of a crime, which is not fully completed. Example: Attempt to murder.
  • Completion of the crime:  This is the final stage of committing to the Crime. A criminal completes a crime. A suspect is guilty of a crime only if he succeeds in his criminal activity. Example: Successful execution of a murder.

What are the Causes of Crime:

No individual is a born criminal, it is the situations and conditions around the individual that make him act like a criminal. To understand concept of crime, there are several causes that make an individual a criminal. The main causes of crime are following:

  • Social causes
  • Economic causes
  • Psychological causes
  • Biological causes
  • Geographical causes

Social Causes of Crime:

(1) Family Disorganization: Family plays the most important role in an individual’s life. In the old days there were joint families and there was always family control on children. Today in urban areas, every family member is going busy on his own way. Children are neglected and family control is decrease day by day, so there are no restrictions. Individuals who are part of nuclear families and broken families resort to crimes due to lack of love, affection and proper attention.

(2) Raising of the individual: Excessive strictness has a great effect on the minds of children. Scolding and abusing children causes humiliation and irritation in children and they become irresponsible. Moral values ​​are given to children by their parents. It is the duty of parents to feed their children in healthy conditions. If the parents resort to illegal behavior, the children will do the same. A child is first influence by his parents and then by his own brothers and sisters. If they resort to illegal acts like selling black tickets in cinemas, the younger ones tend to do the same thing.

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(3) Hype created by the media: Cinemas and newspapers led to an increase in crime. The hype created by the media regarding various crimes, the modus operandi and the consequences motivate young individuals to resort to crimes.

(4) Drinking and drug use: Alcohol consumption and drug use are the most important causes of crime. Under the influence of alcohol and drugs, a person loses the sense of distinguishing between good and evil and right and wrong. Thus commits criminal activity. It does not only concern the individual, but also his whole family.

Economic Causes of Crime:

(1) Poverty: Money is the center of life. Everything and every relationship in this world depends on money. Poverty is the mother of crime. Poor people are unable to meet their basic life needs. To satisfy their basic needs, they resort to crimes like burglary, murder, suicide, etc.

(2) Unemployment: Many young individuals who are constantly unemployed resort to suicide out of frustration. Some others resort to theft, pickpocketing, robbery etc. Thus, unemployment is the main cause of crime.

(3) Industrialization and Urbanization: Urbanization is the result of industrialization. The long working hours and the small amount of money they receive lead to individuals turning to crime.

Psychological Causes of Crime:

(1) Intellectual weakness: Weak-minded people are very easily inclined towards criminal activities. Thus, intellectual weakness is the cause of crime.

(2) Mental Illness: A person suffering from a mental disorder is prone to illegal and violent activities. These individuals become unsocialized, irritable, cruel, stubborn, suspicious, self-centered, lonely, vengeful, backward, and hypersexual or uncontrolled in their behavior. Such an individual does not regret of his violent actions.

(3) Personality Traits: For social, economic, or psychopathic reasons, an individual can turn into a psychic. An abnormal person has a certain amount of freedom, irresponsibility, revolt, murderous tendencies, suspiciousness, lack of control, sadism, emotions, social maladjustment, bad behavior, immaturity, etc. He is prone to violent acts, he becomes naughty, explosive, disobedient and unsociable. Individual indulges in gambling, smoking cigarettes, taking drugs, breaking things, running away from home, prostitution, thieves, etc.

(4) Emotional instability: An abnormal individual has emotional instability. They doesn’t like discipline, thus suffers from an inferiority complex. Individual indulges in criminal behavior and does violent acts with emotion. If his hero steals a diamond from the government treasury, he will see the image several times and repeat the same act.

Biological Causes of Crime:

Many biological factors such as age, gender, hormones, etc. act as causes of crime.

(1) Age: Individuals in their second and third decades of life commit crimes more significantly.

(2) Gender: Overall, men commit more crimes than women.

(3) Body Type: Individuals with a muscular body type are found to commit more crimes.

(4) Hormonal Causes: The testosterone hormone is a hormone that is correlate to criminality.

Geographical causes of crime:

Cities or counties with larger populations have higher crime rate. Poorly maintained neighborhoods correlate with higher crime rates. High residential mobility is associate with higher crime rate. More pub and liquor stores, as well as more gambling and tourist facilities in an area, are positively related to crime. Geographical areas of the country that are closer to the equator seem to have higher crime rates.

What are the different types of Crime:

Within concept of crime, there also comes different types of crime which are as follows:

  • Personal Crimes:

Personal crimes are those crimes that target an individual. These involve murder, assault, sexual assault, etc.

(1) Assault: Illegally attacking an individual with weapons like gun, knife etc. in a rude manner is called assault. The attack results in serious injury. Domestic or family violence also includes assault.

(2) Homicide: The unlawful killing of an individual is called Homicide or murder.

(3) Sexual Assault: Sexual assault includes rape.

  • Property crimes:

Property crimes are those crimes whose aim is materialistic property.

(1) Burglary: Entering a property illegally and committing theft is called burglary.

(2) Theft: Unlawful taking of property without violence and without notifying the owner. Example: Pickpocketing, shoplifting, bike theft, etc.

(3) Arson Fires: Deliberately setting fire to property like building, motor vehicle etc. is called arson fires.

(4) Auto Theft: The unlawful theft or attempt to theft of a motor vehicle.

(5) Vandalism: Damage to public or private property without permission is refer as vandalism.

  • Victimless crimes:

They are actions against the moral values ​​of the individual. Commissions for crime such as prostitution, illegal gambling, use of illegal drugs, etc. are examples of victimless crimes. Because these crimes have no identifiable victim, they refer as victimless crimes.

  • White-collar crimes:

Crimes commits by individuals belonging to high society. Criminal activity occurs to a large extent in their workplace.

(1) Embezzlement: The misuse of an organization’s money or property for an individual’s personal use.

(2) Identity Theft: The illegal use of a social security number, credit card number, etc. for financial gain is called identity theft.

(3) Fraud: Cheating of one party by another party for personal or financial gain is called fraud.

(4) Corruption: It is the use of power by government officials for illegal private gain. This includes bribery, embezzlement, etc.

  • Organized crimes:

Organized crimes define as acts committed by two or more criminals as a joint volunteer in an organize manner. These crimes include kidnapping, dacoity, marketing of illegal or prohibited goods, money laundering, human trafficking, vote buying, etc.

  • Juvenile Delinquency:

It also called as youth crime. This crime commit by a person under the age of 18.

  • Cyber Crime:

Cyber Crime is that type of crime that involves a computer and a network. The computer may use in the commission of a crime or may be a target. Cybercrime refers to the criminal misuse of the Internet. Examples of cyber crime include cyber terrorism, cyber warfare, internet harassment, spam, internet fraud, etc.

  • Violation of public safety:

Violations of laws that endanger public safety are include under public safety violations.

(1) Disorderly Conduct: Acting in a manner that potentially endangers oneself or other people.

(2) Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs: Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can pose a threat to individuals and the public. Continuous checks are carried out by police officers who use alcohol testing devices.

(3) Terrorism: Violence against normal public living in society.


A conceptual understanding of crime, criminology, the facts of crime, the stages of crime, the causes and types of crime will assist in the investigation of crime and assist the criminal justice system in the administration of justice. It is clear from the above article that no individual is a born criminal and it is only the conditions around him that make him resort to various crimes like murder, theft, fraud etc.


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