Theories of Crime Causation

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American Intercontinental University
Unit 1 Individual Project
CRJS 105 – Theories of Crime Causation
November 11th, 2010

The following will examine the differences between criminalists, criminologists and forensic psychologists. It will then transition into how what exactly is a white collar crime and a blue collar crime. Lastly the paper will discuss the differences between index-one and index-two crimes as defined by the UCR.

Media Portrayal of Crime
With the prevalence of crime being portrayed in the media world, it can be difficult for the modern American to decipher all the aspects of crime. Criminology, the study of crime and its causes, is a excellent way to find out just what makes a criminals mind tick. Although it may be hard to know just what makes a person commit a crime, having a better understanding of the base of criminal justice aspects may be of assistance. Criminologists, Criminalists, and Forensic Psychologists

With a plethora of jobs out there relating to the field of criminal justice, it may become overwhelming to try and decide who does what and how they do it. To have a better understanding of such fields one must know exactly what each field does separately from the other. A criminologist uses sociological theories and methods to study criminal behavior and how societies respond to crime (Hall, 2010). This means the criminologist seeks to find out the mentality behind a crime and how that thinking affects the society as a whole. By creating theories as to why of how this crime was committed the criminologist can form a wide array of possible answers for the crime. A criminologist would most likely be in an office but regularly would attend a crime scene to interview witnesses and others to gather sociological data about the crime.

A criminalist examines physical evidence using investigative skills and practical experience. A criminalist is forced to look at nothing but the physical evidence of a crime without prejudice of the person or persons involved. This type of crime evaluation allows for an individual to make findings based on what is physically presented before them. In way you can say that evidence doesn’t lie so the criminalist should not be able to either as they are required to follow the evidence. A criminalist would be most commonly found at the site of the crime collecting physical evidence related to the crime. After the collection a criminalist would be typically found at a crime laboratory, analyzing the collected evidence.

Forensic Psychology is the application of the science and profession of psychology to questions and issues relating to law and the legal system (, 2010). This side of the criminal justice world refers to strictly the legal side of a crime. In this profession and individual would focus primarily on the criminal/person/persons on trial, as well as any other individual as it related to the case and would be required to provide an expert opinion on topics such as sanity, and competency. The psychologist enters the mind of the individual through a series of interviews and allows a better understanding of the person beneath what we see on the surface. Criminologists are typically found at interviews and trials related to the crime. This would typically be at the police station of in a courtroom.

Misconceptions of such fields
With constant development of new television shows relating to police work, as well as media portrayal of the criminal justice field, there can often be misconceptions placed upon these fields of work. A common misconception related to the field of criminology (criminologist) is that they live a life of danger and unpredictability. While the criminal mind can be unpredictable criminologists often stay low key and behind the scenes as they are analyzing the criminal mind and would not want to compromise that by running around in the field.

In the life of a criminalist, the most...
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