Crime as a Social Product

Crime, Law, Anti-social behaviour

The twentieth century was a time of many political assassinations and violent shootings. A nation in shock mourned the deaths of President John Kennedy and civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. At the end of the twentieth century the nation endured rising rates of violent crime, with young people frequently involved as victims and perpetrators and often armed with guns. Between July 1992, and June 30, 1999, there were 358 school-associated violent deaths in the United States, including 255 deaths of school- aged children, or about 51 such violent deaths each year. (Schmitt Rot, 2003) The word ‘crime’ means accusation or fault it is derived from a Latin word crime. Scholars give different definitions about crime, because acts that are defined as criminal vary with time and place. However, generally speaking, crime could be described as something, which offends the morality of society, or something, which violates the divine law. Tappan however, highlighted on the legal definition of crime. He sees it “as an intentional act in violation of the criminal law (statutory and case law), committed without defence or excuse, and penalized by the state as a felony or misdemeanour.” The broadest definition of crime is the sociological view where, a typical definition of crime is seen as a behaviour that violates the norms of society. Alternatively, it can be described as anti-social behaviour. Accordingly, Durkheim (1933) defined crime within a social context. He saw crime as a product determined by social conditions, capable of being controlled only in social terms. Crime is therefore normal in all societies, and “a society exempt from crime would necessitate a standardization of moral concepts of all individuals, which is neither possible nor desirable.”
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