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Friday, January 27, 2023

What is crime? What are the definition, characteristics and types of crime?

Crime is behavior or actions that are offensive to society and prohibited by law and the state. Crime is considered reprehensible in society and punishable by law.

Deviant behavior is an integral part of social order. Some type of deviant behavior can be observed in every society. Crime begins with deviant behavior. In general, it is considered a crime to violate established values ​​of society or state laws. Crime may not be one and the same in all societies. For example: In many western countries, children having extramarital sex, cohabitation, homosexuality etc. are legally and socially not. But in Bangladesh it is usually a crime of moral turpitude. It is not accepted or supported by the state or society. In fact, crime is closely related to social and cultural acceptance.

Definition of crime

In the definition of crime B. Bhushan (1989) said, crime means any behavior that is against group norms. These behaviors are not sanctioned by any established group or their laws. It is antisocial behavior that is distressing to individuals or groups. Crime refers to any behavior contrary to the groups of moral codes for which there are formalized group sanctions whether they are laws or not. It is anti-social behavior harmful to individuals or groups).

Gillin and Gillin in their book ‘Cultural Sociology’ say that biologically the concept of crime is rooted in the inherent capacity of the individual. Sociologically, personality differences that develop based on experience lead to crime. According to them, those who engage in harmful activities according to the beliefs of the powerful people in the society are considered as criminals or juvenile delinquents according to sociological definition. 

Sociologically either a criminal or a juvenile delinquent is one who is guilty of an act believed by a group that has a power to enforce its belief to be injurious to society and therefore prohibitive.

Attempts to define crime can also be seen from a legal point of view. For example, EH Sutherland said in his book Principles of Criminology (1955), breaking the law is a crime. Where there is no law there is no crime. When a law is passed and enforced, an act that was previously not a crime becomes a crime. Crime is a violation of law. If there were no laws there would be no crime. Whenever a law is passed and enforced acts that were not crime, previously are made crimes.)

Bangladeshi sociologist Fazlur Rashid Khan has tried to coordinate legal and sociological perspectives in the definition of crime. He said in his book ‘Principles of Sociology’ , generally speaking, it is clear that in any society the behavior of people which is anti-moral and anti-social is described as criminal action. Actions which are prohibited by law are considered by the majority of the society as dangerous and harmful to the society. This is self-evident. 

In fact, crime is behavior or actions that are offensive to society and prohibited by law and the state. Crime is considered reprehensible in society and punishable by law. A type of crime in society is committed behind the scenes, very covertly. By committing these crimes in most cases the criminal can avoid punishment. This is basically corruption or white-collar crime. Tax evasion, taking bribes, misappropriation of funds, etc.

Characteristics of Crime

Crime is a conviction against social norms and values. How many features does it have? For example:

  • Crime is an abnormal form of human social behavior.
  • It is socially, personally and ideologically damaging. 
  • Crime is essentially relative; Differences in its form and dimensions are observed according to time and society.
  • Crime is a serious threat to social cohesion and stability.
  • Crime is related to social structure. For example, the criminality of industrial society is different from that of agricultural society.
  • Crime is the result of social interaction and socialization.
  • Crimes or offenses are punishable by law.
  • The degree and seriousness of the offense is determined by age.The crime is reprehensible and reprehensible.

Many times some people indulged in crime inspired by great ideals. For example: Khudiram, Masterda Surya Sen etc. devoted themselves to the ideal of freedom and got involved in anti-state activities. 

Crime is an essential and integral part of society. According to Erikson (T. Erikson), criminal tendencies also exist among members living in monastic societies. Durkheim referred to crime as a socially normal activity and an integral part of a healthy society.

Conspiracies, incitement to communal riots, breach of conditions, commission of open crimes etc. cause damage to the society. Drug addiction, robberies, suicides etc. cause personal and ideological damage to some conservative societies like prostitution, homosexuality, abortion etc.

Types of Crime

Various types of crimes are committed in society. Sociologists and criminologists have identified five types of crime. These are—

  • Juvenile delinquency
  • Self-destroyed crime
  • White-collar crime
  • Organized crime
  • Criminal crime

Juvenile delinquency

Juvenile delinquency is an offense committed by a juvenile. A crime committed by a boy or girl under the age of 18 is called a juvenile crime. 

Self-destroyed crime

There are some crimes that harm the offender and not others. That is, in such a crime, the person himself hastens his own destruction. Drug addiction, smoking, gambling, prostitution, etc. are suicide crimes. 

Polite crime

Usually crimes committed by ‘gentlemen’ are called gentlemanly crimes. Educated, professional and socially established people are more involved in such crimes. Neglect of duty, evasion, nepotism, corruption, evasion of income tax, forgery, fraud, embezzlement of funds, perjury, theft or forgery of trademarks or book manuscripts etc. are considered as vexatious offenses. 

Organized crime

Organized crime is gang crime. Following the ‘chain of command’ several people in the ‘syndicate’ system commit such crimes in concert. National or international mafias, terrorist groups involved in organized crime. Smuggling, drug trade, women and human trafficking, militant activities, prostitution etc. are crimes committed by gangs. ‘Syndicate’ based crimes are also observed in various government services like visa-passport, health care, land office. 

Criminal offense

Criminal offenses are direct violations of law and are punishable. It directly harms the opponent or other person. Such crimes are committed by taking property or attacking an individual, family or group. Embezzlement, forcible seizure, theft, robbery, robbery, murder-injury, rape, torture of women, adultery etc. are criminal offences.


The deviant behavior of post-modern society is crime. Laws, customs, rules, restrictions, etc. consider some behavior as a crime considering the peace and order and welfare of the society and people. Crimes are often punishable and punishable. People commit crimes from society. Just as socialization makes people rational and ethical, it is through interaction that some people become criminally inclined. Various types of crimes are observed in the society including juvenile crime, criminal crime, gentrification crime.

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