CRIME TYPOLOGIES

 

 

 

VIOLENT CRIME

 

Forcible rape – defined in common law as “the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.”

*       Population density influences the rape rate.  Metropolitan areas today have rape rates significantly higher than rural areas

*       Rape is a warm-weather crime with most incidents occurring during July and August and the lowest rates occurring during December, January, and February.

*       Rape is frequently underreported

*       Fail to report rapes because they are embarrassed, believe nothing can be done, or blame themselves.

*       There are two broad categories of rape:  stranger-to-stranger rape and acquaintance rape, which includes the subcategories of date rape and marital rape.

*       Stranger rapes are typically more violent than acquaintance rapes; attackers are more likely to carry a weapon, threaten the victim, and harem her physically.

*       Stranger rape is over-represented in official statistics because victims who are more viciously harmed are the most likely to contact police.

*       Statutory rape – sexual relations between an underage minor female and an adult male.  Although the sex is not forced or coerced, the law says that young girls are incapable of giving informed consent, so the act is legally considered non-consensual.

*       Shield laws – protect women from being questioned about their sexual history unless it directly bears on the case

 

Murder and Homicide – defined in common law as “the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought.

*       There is no statute of limitations on murder.

*       First –degree murder occurs when a person kills another after premeditation and deliberation.

*       Premeditation – killing was considered beforehand and suggests that it was motivated by more than a simple desire to engage in an act of violence.

*       Deliberation – the killing was planned, after careful thought, rather than carried out on impulse.

*       Felony murder – a killing accompanying a felony usually constitutes first-degree murder

*       Second-degree murder – requires the killer to have malice aforethought, but not premeditation or deliberation.  It occurs when a person’s wanton disregard for the victim’s life and his or her desire to inflict serious bodily harm on the victim results in the victim’s death.

*       Manslaughter – homicide without malice and is usually punishable by anywhere between 1 and 15 years in prison.

*       Voluntary or non-negligent manslaughter- killing in the heat of passion or during a sudden quarrel that provoked violence.

*       Involuntary or negligent manslaughter – killing that occurs when a person’s acts are negligent and without regard for the harm they may cause others.

*       Murder victims tend to be males, over 18 years of age.

*       There is a disturbing trend for African Americans to both commit murder and become murder victims.

*       Murder tends to be intra-racial

*       Murder can be separated into those involving strangers, typically stemming from a felony attempt, and acquaintance homicides involving disputes between family, friends, and acquaintances.

*       Most females who kill their mates do so after suffering repeated violent attacks.

 

Assault and Battery – refers to two separate crimes.  Battery requires offensive touching, such as slapping, hitting, or punching a victim.  Assault requires no actual touching but involves either attempted battery or unintentionally frightening the victim by word or deed.

*       Although common law intended these twin crimes to be misdemeanors, most jurisdictions now upgrade them to felonies either when a weapon is used or when they occur during the commission of a felony.

*       Serious assault or aggravated assault is defined in the UCR as “an unlawful attack by one person upon another for the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury.”  This definition is similar to the one used in most state jurisdictions.

*       An assault and battery occurs if the victim suffers a temporarily painful blow, even if no injury results.  Battery can also involve offensive touching, such as if a man kisses a woman against her will or puts his hands on her body.

*       People arrested for assault and those identified by victims are usually young, male, and white, although the number of African Americans arrested for assault is disproportionate to their representation in the population.

*       Assault victims tend to be male, but women also face a significant danger.

*       Assault rates are highest in urban areas, during summer, and in southern and western regions.

*       The most common weapons used in assaults are blunt instruments, hands and feet, firearms, and knives.

 

Robbery – the common law definition, and the one used by the FBI, is “the taking or attempting to take anything of value from the care, custody, or control of a person or persons by force or threat of force or violence and/or by putting the victim in fear.”

*       Robbery is considered a violent crime because it involves the use of force to obtain money or goods.

*       Robbery is punished severely because the victim’s life is put in jeopardy. The severity of the punishment is based on the amount of force used during the crime, not the value of the items taken.

*       Northeastern states have by far the highest robbery rate.

*       Robbery offenders are disproportionately young, male, minority group members.

*       Most robberies are stranger-to-stranger robberies.

*       Street robberies are the most common type, especially in urban areas

*       The typical armed robber is unlikely to be a professional who carefully studies targets while planning a crime.  Instead, the typical robber does not plan crimes, or plans them randomly.

 

 

Hate Crimes – or bias crimes are violent acts directed toward a particular person or members of a group merely because the targets share a discernible racial, ethnic, religious, or gender characteristic.

*       Hate crimes are often unplanned

*       Usually involve convenient, vulnerable targets who are incapable of fighting back

 

PROPERTY CRIMES

 

Economic crimes – acts that violate criminal law and are designed to bring financial reward to an offender.

*       Property crime is widespread among the young in every social class.

*       People may be more tolerant of economic crimes because they never seem to seriously hurt anyone

*       Convicted offenders, especially businesspeople who commit white-collar crimes involving millions of dollars, often are punished lightly.

 

Larceny/Theft – one of the earliest common-law crimes created by English judges to define acts in which one person took for his or her own use the property of another.  Larceny was defined as “the trespassory taking and carrying away of the personal property of another with intent to steal.” 

*       Includes shoplifting, passing bad checks, and other theft offenses that do not involve using force or threats on the victim (robbery) or forcibly breaking into a person’s home or workplace (burglary).

*       Petty larceny involves small amounts of money or property; it is punished as a misdemeanor.

*       Grand larceny, involving merchandise of greater value, is a felony punished by a sentence in the state prison.

*       Value is determined by current market value when determining whether the offense is petty or grand larceny.

*       Larceny/theft is probably the most common crime.

*       Motor vehicle theft is another common larceny offense, but because of its frequency and seriousness, it is treated as a separate category in the UCR.

*       At one time, joyriding was the predominant motive for auto theft, and most cars were taken by relatively affluent, white, middle-class teenagers looking for excitements.

*       Today, fewer cars are being taken, and fewer cars are being recovered because there has been an increase in professional car thieves who are linked to chop shops, export rings, or both.

*       Carjacking  is another type of auto theft which is legally considered a robbery because it involves theft by force.

*       Both the victims and offenders in carjackings tend to be young, black men.

*       These crimes are most likely to occur in the evenings, in the central city, and in an open area or parking garage.

 

*       Fraud, or the crime of false pretenses involves misrepresenting a fact in a way that causes a victim to willingly give his or her property to the wrongdoer, who then keeps it.

 

*       Embezzlement occurs when someone who is trusted with property fraudulently convert it – that is, keeps it for his or her own use or for the use of others.  It can be distinguished from fraud on the basis of when the criminal intent was formed.

 

Burglary – defined as the “breaking and entering of a dwelling house of another in the nighttime with the intent to commit a felony within.”

*       Considered more important than larceny/theft because it involves entering another’s home, which threatens occupants.

*       Offense is punished as a felony.

*       States commonly enact laws creating different degrees of burglary:  the more serious, heavily punished crimes involve nighttime forced entry into the home, whereas the least serious involve daytime entry into a nonresidential structure by an unarmed offender.

*       Those most likely to be burglarized are relatively poor Hispanic and African American families living in renter-occupied and multiple-family dwellings.

 

Arson – the willful, malicious burning of a home, public building, vehicle, or commercial property.

*       Considered to be a young man’s crime.

*       Several motives for arson include emotional turmoil, revenge against property owners, or by teenagers out to vandalize property.

*       Other fires are set by professionals who engage in arson for profit – people look to collect insurance money, but who are afraid or unable to set the fires themselves, hire professional arsonists who know how to set fires yet make the cause seem accidental.

*       Arson fraud involves a business owner burning his or her property, or hiring someone to do it to escape financial problems.

 

WHITE-COLLAR AND ORGANIZED CRIME

 

White-collar crime involves illegal activities of people and institutions whose acknowledged purpose is profit through legitimate business transactions.

*       Today’s definition of white-collar crime typically includes individuals who use the marketplace for their criminal activity.  White-collar crimes can be committed by persons in all social classes – middle-class acts as income tax evasion, credit card fraud, and bankruptcy fraud.

*       Other white-collar criminals use their positions of trust in business or government to commit crimes.  Their activities might include pilfering, soliciting bribes or kickbacks, and embezzlement.

*       Some white-collar criminals become involved in criminal conspiracies designed to improve the market share or profitability of their corporations.  This type of white-collar crime, which includes antitrust violations, price-fixing, and false advertising, is known as corporate crime.

*       Beyond their monetary cost, white-collar crimes often damage property and kill people.  Violations of safety standards, pollution of the environment, and industrial accidents due to negligence can be classified as corporate violence.

 

*       Typology of white-collar crime:

Stings and Swindles – stealing through deception by individuals who have no continuing institutional or business position and whose entire purpose is to bilk people out of their money – includes fraud involving the door-to-door sale of faulty merchandise to the passing of millions of dollars in counterfeit stock certificates to an established brokerage firm.

*       White-collar swindlers are usually charged with common-law crimes such as embezzlement or fraud.

*       Religious swindles

 

Chiseling – involves regularly cheating an organization, its consumers, or both. 

*       Chiselers may be individuals looking to make quick profits in their own businesses or employees of large organizations who decide to cheat on obligations to clients by doing something contrary to either the law or company policy.

*       Chiseling can involve charging for bogus auto repairs, cheating customers on home repairs, short-weighting (intentionally tampering with the accuracy of scales used to weigh products) in supermarkets or dairies, or fraudulently selling securities at inflated prices.

*       Corporations engage in large-scale chiseling when they misrepresent products of alter their content.

*       Securities fraud – chiseling that takes place on the commodity and stock markets where individuals engage in deceptive practices to defraud their clients.

*       Insider trading  - securities chiseling involving one’s position of trust to profit from inside business information which can then be used to buy and sell securities, giving the trader an unfair advantage over the general public which lacks this inside information.

 

Individual Exploitation of Institutional Position – another type of white-collar crime involves individuals’ exploiting their power or position in organizations to take advantage of other individuals who have an interest in how that power is used. (bribes, kickbacks)

 

Influence Peddling and Bribery – sometimes individuals holding important institutional positions sell power, influence, and information to outsiders who have an interest in influencing or predicting the activities of the institution.

*       One major difference distinguishes influence peddling from the exploitation of an institutional position – exploitation involves forcing victims to pay for services to which they have a clear right, while influence peddlers and bribe takers use their institutional positions to grant favors and sell information.

 

Embezzlement and Employee Fraud – involves individuals’ use of their positions to embezzle company funds or appropriate company property for themselves.  Here the company or organization that employs the criminal, rather than the outsider, is the victim of white-collar crime.

*       Employee theft can reach all levels of the organizational structure.  Blue-collar employees have been involved in systematic theft of company property, commonly called pilferage.

Client Fraud – theft by an economic client from an organization that advances credit to its clients or reimburses them for services rendered. 

*       Involves cheating an organization with many individual clients that the organization supports financially (welfare clients), reimburses for services provided (like health care providers), covers losses of (like insurance policyholders), or extends credit to (like bank clients or taxpayers). 

*       Includes insurance fraud, credit card fraud, fraud related to welfare and Medicare programs, and tax evasion.

 

*       Bank fraud can encompass such schemes as check kiting, check forgery, false statements on loan applications, sale of stolen checks, credit card fraud, unauthorized use of ATMs, auto title fraud, and illegal transactions with offshore banks.  To be found guilty of bank fraud, one must knowingly execute or attempt to execute a scheme to fraudulently obtain money or property from a financial institution.

 

*       Tax evasion – the victim is the government that is cheated by one of its clients, the errant taxpayer to whom it extended credit by allowing the taxpayer to delay paying taxes on money he or she already earned. 

Corporate Crime – involves situations in which powerful institutions or their representatives willfully violate the laws that restrain these institutions from doing social harm or require them to do social good.

 

*       Corporate crimes are socially injurious acts committed by people who control companies to further their business interests.  The target of the crimes can be the general public, the environment, or even their companies’ workers.

*       Includes price-fixing and illegal restraint of trade, false advertising, and the use of company practices that violate environmental protection statutes.

High-Tech Crime – new breed of white-collar offenses that can be singular or ongoing and typically involve the theft of information, resources, or funds.

 

*       Corporate culture theory –some business organizations promote white-collar criminality in the same way that lower-class culture encourages the development of juvenile gangs and street crime.  Through a differential association process with business peers, new employees learn the attitudes and techniques needed to commit white-collar crime.   

*      

*       Self-control view – motives that produce white-collar crimes are the same as those that produce any other criminal behaviors:  “the desire for relatively quick, relatively certain benefit, with minimal effort.”

 

Organized crime involves illegal activities of people and organizations whose acknowledged purpose is profit through illegitimate business enterprise.

*       Here a structured enterprise system is set up to continually supply consumers with merchandise and services banned by criminal law, but for which a ready market exists.  The system may resemble a legitimate business run by an ambitions chief executive officer, his or her assistants, staff attorneys, and accountants, with thorough, efficient accounts receivable and complaint departments.

*       Along with the mafia, other groups also are considered organized crime – other ethnic gangs

 

PUBLIC ORDER CRIMES (VICTIMLESS CRIMES)

 

*       Behaviors, society has banned or limited because they are believed to run contrary to social norms, customs, and values are said to be public order crimes.

*       Involve acts that interfere with the operations of society and the ability of people to function efficiently; behaviors are outlawed because they conflict with social policy, prevailing moral rules, and current public opinion.

 

Prostitution – defined as the granting of non-marital sexual access, established by mutual agreement of the prostitutes, their clients, and their employers, for remuneration. 

*       Conditions usually present in a commercial sexual transaction:

Activity that has sexual significance for the customer

Economic transaction

Emotional indifference

*       Types of Prostitutes:

Streetwalkers – considered the least attractive, lowest paid, most vulnerable

Bar Girls

Brothel Prostitutes

Call Girls – the aristocrats of prostitution

Escort Service/Call houses

Circuit Travelers – move around in small groups to lumber, labor, and agricultural camps

Rap Booth Prostitutes

Skeezers:  Bartering Sex for Drugs

 

Pornography – books, magazines, and films depicting every imaginable explicit sex act.  The purpose of the material is to provide sexual titillation and excitement for paying customers.