Crime and Its Concepts – A short Description

Before talking about the concepts of crime, lets just define crime first. Crime by definition means an act that is capable of being followed by criminal proceedings. Sir William Blackstone defines crime in two ways. One, as an act committed or omitted in violation of public law commanding or forbidding it. Though the definition is limited in the sense that it is only applicable to bulk of criminal law segment that covers political offenses and was modified later. Though the definition of concept of crimes showcases traceable difficulties with respect to the concept, it can still be defined or rather can make sense based on four different frame works.

concepts of crime

Social construction is one of them. As culture varies across the length and breadth of the country, it is difficult to create a standard definition of crime as it could vary from culture to culture.

Religious authority is another. Now, there is this huge conflict across religions when it comes to considering something as crime. While it may be a crime in one religion, it may not be in another. Example – women in middle east are not allowed to drive as per the Sharia law of Saudi Arabia. It is considered to be a crime even today, however absurd it may sound in other part of the world. Another example is honor killings and domestic violence which is allowed in certain religions while in certain it is considered as crime as per the basic state law.

Another example is holocaust of Germany wherein Hitler in Nazi Germany ordered a systematic slaughter of the Jewish race, which was not considered a crime then. But today when reviewed, the holocaust is known to be the greatest crime in history of Germany. Even when the trial was carried out only a few officers that were closed associated were held responsible. As for others they were not held responsible as they were only following orders of their seniors and did not commit crimes willingly. This again throws light on the definition of crime and its affects on not only the situation but people involved in the situation.

Thus, as we may see based on the four frameworks explained above including the examples of holocaust, Saudi Sharia law, domestic abuse and honor killings, it can be understood that the definition varies as per time and the ever changing needs of the society. There are more example which can prove that crime as an act is not the same everywhere. For example liquor sale and consumption is a crime in Gujarat but in many other states of India it is not.

Thus, we can clearly see that the definition and concept of crime ranges from individual and personal to historical and social circumstances and hence it is difficult to have one single definition for it.

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