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The scientific study of crime and criminal behavior.
-is also an interdisciplinary science, it involves an interplay of several other disciplines such as sociology, law psychology, economics, political science.

Classical Criminology

the theoretical perspective suggesting that (1) people have free will to choose criminal or conventional behaviors (2) people choose to commit crime for reason of greed or personal need (3) crime can be controlled only by the fear of criminal sanctions.


The Branch of of social science that uses the scientific method of the natural sciences and suggests that human behavior is a product of social biological, psychological, or economic forces


Process of human development and enculturation. Socialization is influenced by key social processes and institutions


is any behavior that violates social norms


An, act deemed socially harmful or dangerous, that is specifically defined prohibited, and punished under criminal law

Consensus view

The belief that the majority of citizens is a society share common values and agree on what behaviors should be defined criminal

criminal law

The written code that defines crimes and their punishments

conflict view

The belief that criminal behavior is defined by those in a position of power to protect and advance their own self-interest


A serious offenses that carries a penalty of imprisonment, usually for one year or more, and may entail loss of political rights


A minor crime usually punished by a short jail term and/or fine

Crime is relative

because criminal laws have a changing character and differs across societies


the study of the victim's role in criminal events

cycle of violence

victims of crime, especially victims of childhood abuse, are more likely to commit crimes themselves

victim precipitation theory

the view that victims may initiate, either actively or passively, the confrontation that leads to their victimization

Lifestyle theories

views on how people become crime victims because of lifestyles that increase their exposure to criminal offenders

Deviant place theory

The view that victimization is primarily a function of where people live

Routine activities theory

the view that victimization results from the interaction of three everyday factors: the availability of suitable targets, the absence of capable guardians, and the presence of motivated offenders

Rational choice

The view that crime is a function of a decision-making process in which the potential offender weighs the potential costs and benefits of an illegal act.

choice theory

individual is a rational actor who weighs the cost and benefits and decides whether or not commit the action - everyone is a free individual and has the choice (indeterminism)


the idea that offenders evaluate their skills, motives, needs and fears before deciding to commit crime.

Situational crime prevention

A method of crime prevention that seeks to eliminate or reduce particular crimes in specific settings.

Defensible space

The principle that crime can be prevented or displaced by modifying the physical environment to reduce the opportunity that individuals have to commit crime.

General deterrence

a crime control policy that depends on the fear of criminal penalties, convincing the potential law violator that the pains associated with crime outweighs its benefits.

specific deterrence

the view that criminal sanctions should be so powerful that offenders will never repeat their criminal acts.


confinement to jail or prison


repeated criminal behavior

Incapacitation effect

the idea that keeping offenders in confinement will eliminate the risk of their committing further offenses.


Questionnaires and interviews that ask people directly about their experiences, attitudes, or opinions.

uniform crime report

large database compiled by the FBI, of crimes reported and arrests made each year throughout the United States; standardizes the number of crimes per 100,000

national crime victimization survey

the ongoing victimization study conducted jointly by the Justice Department and the US Census Bureau that surveys victims about their experiences with law violations

self report survey

A research approach that requires subjects to reveal their own participation in delinquent or criminal acts.

Victimization surveys

Surveys that attempt to measure the extent of crime by interviewing people who have suffered crime.

Chronic Offenders

Delinquents who are arrested 5 or more times before the age of 18 and who commit a disproportionate amount of all criminal offenses.

early onset

the view that repeat offenders begin their criminal careers at a very young age.

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