Essay by etCollege, Undergraduate October 2002

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Criminology is the study of lawmaking, lawbreaking, and reactions to crime. There are two parts that when combined make up the definition of criminology. The first part is lawmaking which is primarily influenced by society, our culture, and our leaders. When making laws, you must first decide if the act is criminal or not. For example, we know that murder, robbery, and rape are morally wrong, but we still must have laws against these acts to try and keep them from occurring. The second part of the definition of criminology is the study of lawbreaking. The main question that criminologists want to know is how and what drives people to commit crime. This includes everything from shoplifting to mass murders. The offender knows it is wrong but commit's the crime anyway, even though they are aware of the consequences. Criminologists have listed several factors that may give some insight on the types of people who commit crimes.

Some examples are family relationships, peers, neighborhoods, social class, gender, race, and employment status. Another major area of criminology is the study of the reactions to crime. This basically means how or what our state and federal government is going to deal with the offenders. The more violent the crime, the harder the punishment will be. What all this boils down to is that crime is a human act that violates the criminal law that our government, and our society has included as being criminal. Anyone who breaks the law will be labeled as a criminal. A criminal is a person whose actions have violated the criminal law. We focus mainly on what crime is and the study of criminal behavior, but we must also remember that when a crime is committed, there is always a victim. The victims of the crime are...