Criminology is the social-scientific study of crime as an individual and social phenomenon. Criminological research areas include the incidence and forms of crime as well as its causes and consequences. They also include social and governmental regulations and reactions to crime. Criminology is an interdisciplinary field in the behavioural sciences, drawing especially on the research of sociologists and psychologists, as well as on writings in law. In 1885, Italian law professor Raffaele Garofalo coined the term "criminology" (in Italian, criminologia). The French anthropologist Paul Topinard used it for the first time in French (criminologie) around the same time.

Theories of crime

Theoretical perspectives used in criminology include psychoanalysis, functionalism, interactionism, Marxism, econometrics, systems theory, postmodernism, etc.

Strain theory (social class)

Strain theory,(also known as Mertonian Anomie), advanced by American sociologist Robert Merton, suggests that mainstream culture, especially in the United States, is saturated with dreams of opportunity, freedom and prosperity; as Merton put it, the American Dream. Most people buy into this dream and it becomes a powerful cultural and psychological motivation. Merton also used the term anomie, but it meant something slightly different for him than it did for Durkheim. Merton saw the term as meaning a dichotomy between what society expected of its citizens, and what those citizens could actually achieve. Therefore, if the social structure of opportunities is unequal and prevents the majority from realizing the dream, some of them will turn to illegitimate means (crime) in order to realize it. Others will retreat or drop out into deviant subcultures (gang members, "hobos": urban homeless drunks and drug abusers).

Subcultural theory

Main article: subcultural theory

Following on from the Chicago School and Strain Theory, and also drawing on Edwin H. Sutherland's idea of differential association, subcultural theorists focused on small cultural groups fragmenting away from the mainstream to form their own values and meanings about life.

Albert Cohen tied anomie theory with Freud's reaction formation idea, suggesting that delinquency among lower class youths is a reaction against the social norms of the middle class.[14] Some youth, especially from poorer areas where opportunities are scarce, might adopt social norms specific to those places which may include "toughness" and disrespect for authority. Criminal acts may result when youths conform to norms of the deviant subculture.[15]

Richard Cloward and Lloyd Ohlin suggested that deliquency can result from differential opportunity for lower class youth.[16] Such youths may be tempted to take up criminal activities, choosing an illegitimate path that provides them more lucrative economic benefits than conventional, over legal options such as minimum wage-paying jobs available to them.[16]

British subcultural theorists focused more heavily on the issue of class, where some criminal activities were seen as 'imaginary solutions' to the problem of belonging to a subordinate class. A further study by the Chicago school looked at gangs and the influence of the interaction of gang leaders under the observation of adults.

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Criminology Jobs

This area provides information on Criminology Jobs including qualifications required and who employs criminologists.

What is Criminology?

Criminology is the scientific study of crime, criminals, criminal behavior and corrections. Criminology also studies society’s response to crime and to prevention. This includes examination of evidence, hereditary and psychological causes of crime, different modes of investigation and conviction and efficiency of punishment and corrections.

What is a Criminologist and what do they do?

A criminologist studies normal social behaviors and deviations from the norm. The criminologist is often an academic who studies crime and the law. They provide theoretical explanations of delinquent and criminal behavior, analyze criminal law and criminal behavior.

A criminologist studies crime by analyzing criminal behavior and methods of criminals. Criminologists work with and for law enforcement agencies developing profiles of particular types of crimes as well as gathering statistics on crime rates.

The criminologist not only studies or investigates the crimes they analyze the entire criminal justice system and its processes.

What do qualifications do criminologists generally need?

A criminologist needs an interest in human well-being and behavior A good criminologist is also a good communicator and listener. A criminologist needs to demonstrate responsibility, creativity, analytical thinking and problem-solving.

Criminologists need research and computer skills, integrity and an interest in socially disadvantaged individuals. Criminologists need a degree in the criminal justice field, preferably with a minor in psychology or sociology

What do criminologists study in their courses?

Undergraduate courses include government, sociology, psychology, juvenile delinquency, criminal law, constitutional law and criminal theory. Additional coursework includes forensics, abnormal psychology, corrections and statistics. Coursework should include statistics, writing, computer science, and logic, .Advanced degrees are necessary for those who choose to teach or conduct professional research or for professional advancement.

What types of tasks may criminologists do in their job?

Entry-level criminologists conduct data collection, report proofing, and computer work, catalogue information about the possible causes of crime and the crimes committed, compile crime statistics and propose improvements for the use of resources. Criminologists also analyze and develop crime prevention strategies.

Criminologists analyze the causes of crime and how the community relates to crime. Criminologists may be involved in crime scene investigations, or attend autopsies seeking evidence and information to analyze the crime.

What areas of specialization may criminologists choose?

Criminologists may focus on specific age groups, or specific types of crimes. A criminologist may focus on crime prevention, the process of crime scene investigation, the process of criminal litigation or the process of criminal corrections. A criminologist may become a profiler who develops profiles of particular criminal activity by reviewing patterns of behavior among certain groups who commit particular crimes.

Criminologists may specialize in organizational research, victimology, corporate crime or juvenile justice. Some criminologists work with community initiatives, evaluation and policy projects with federal, state and local criminal justice agencies.

What types of companies employ criminologists?

Universities and government agencies employ professional criminologists for advanced teaching and research and policy assessment.

Most Criminologists become police officers, FBI agents, or state medical examiners. Criminologists may work in universities teaching criminology, legal studies, law and sociology Federal and state justice agencies employ criminologists as research officers and policy advisers.

Criminologists are found in many different settings: airport security, corrections systems, probation or parole officers, drug enforcement agencies, FBI, US customs and other law enforcement agencies. Corporations or financial institutions, major department stores and law firms employ security officers, private investigators or social workers. Some work as consultants in the role of private investigators or security.

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