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Crime in the United States

A publication of the Junior Police Academy.

The word crime is derived from the Latin root cern, meaning "I decide, I give judgment".

Crime statistics
Crime has been a long-standing concern in the United States, with high rates at the beginning of the 20th century compared to parts of Western Europe. In 1916, 198 homicides were recorded in Chicago, a city of slightly over 2 million at the time. This level of crime was not exceptional when compared to other American cities such as New York City, but was much higher relative to European cities, such as London, which then had three times the population but recorded only 45 homicides in the same year.

Dark Figure of Crime

What is the Dark Figure of Crime?

Its a term employed by criminologists and sociologists to describe the amount of unreported or undiscovered crime, which calls into question the reliability of official crime statistics. Unrecorded and unreported crime Not all the crimes that take place are reported to, or recorded by, the police. Given this, sociologists refer to the gap between the official level of crime and the amount of crime in the community as the dark figure of crime. For a crime to be recorded, at least three things must happen: 1. Somebody must be aware that a crime has taken place.

2. That crime must be reported. 3. The police or other agency must accept that a law has been broken. It is now widely accepted that official crime statistics have significant limitations. These include: Some crimes are not reported to the police because: The general public regards them as too trivial. The victim finds the matter embarrassing. Individuals are unaware that they are victims (e.g., fraud or confidence tricks). Lack of confidence or trust in the police A fear of reprisals or victimisation The victim may take law into own handsa form of rough justice.

Age & Crime Risks

Concerning age, those younger than twenty-five were more likely to fall victim to crime, especially violent crime. The chances of being victimized by violent crime decreased far more substantially with age than the chances of becoming the victim of property crime. For example, 3.03% of crimes committed against a young person were theft, while 20% of crimes committed against an elderly person were theft. Thus, one can conclude that the probability of becoming a violent crime victim decreases as income and age increase.

Things you can do to prevent burglary

Taking just a few steps can make a big difference in keeping your home safe from burglary. Here are a few tips: lock your doors and windows every time you leave the house, even when youre just out in the garden hide all keys, including car keys, out of sight install a visual burglar alarm install good outside lighting leave radios or lights in your house on a timer make sure the fences around your garden are in good condition store valuable items (including passports, driving licences and bank statements) out of view hide cash and wallets away secure bikes at home by locking them to an immoveable object inside a locked shed or garage keep ladders and tools stored away; don't leave them outside where they could be used to break into your home

Doors and windows In most burglaries, the criminals broke into the house or at through the door, either by forcing the lock or kicking it in. So make sure your doors are strong and secure. Consider tting a bar for extra strength; a locksmith can advise you on how best to do it. Glass panels on doors are particularly vulnerable. If you have one on your door you could replace it with laminated glass, which is stronger. You can also buy a lm in a DIY store that you can stick over the glass to make it harder to break.

grand theft auto

Motor vehicle theft (sometimes referred to as grand theft auto by the media and police departments in the US) is the criminal act of stealing or attempting to steal a motor vehicle (such as an automobile, truck, bus, coach, motorcycle, snowmobile, trailer). Nationwide in the US in 2005, there were an estimated 1.2 million motor vehicle thefts, or approximately 416.7 motor vehicles stolen for every 100,000 inhabitants. Property losses due to motor vehicle theft in 2005 were estimated at $7.6 billion.


The Department of Justice categorizes in three ways:
1. The computer as a target - attacking the computers of others (spreading viruses is an example). 2. The computer as a weapon - using a computer to commit "traditional crime" that we see in the physical world (such as fraud or illegal gambling). 3. The computer as an accessory - using a computer as a "fancy filing cabinet" to store illegal or stolen information.


Reports of alleged computer crime have been a hot news item of late. Especially alarming is the realization that many of the masterminds behind these criminal acts are mere kids. In fact, children no longer need to be highly skilled in order to execute cyber crimes. "Hacker tools" are easily available on the Net and, once downloaded, can be used by even novice computer users. This greatly expands the population of possible wrongdoers. Children (and in some cases - their parents) often think

that shutting down or defacing Web sites or releasing network viruses are amusing pranks. Kids might not even realize that what they are doing is illegal. Still other kids might find themselves hanging out online with skilled hackers who share hacking tools with them and encourage them to do inappropriate things online. Unfortunately, some of these kids don't realize that they are committing crimes until it is too late.

Why should police to catch criminals, and not the victims of the crime?
Several reasons: Victims may not have the resources to investigate and seek legal redress for the injuries suffered. Whereas law enforcement officers formally appointed by the State have better access to expertise and resources. The victims may only want compensation for the injuries suffered from the criminals, while remaining indifferent to a possible desire for deterrence in the form of punishment. Fear of retaliation may deter victims or witnesses of crimes from taking any action. Even in policed societies, fear may inhibit from reporting incidents or from cooperating in a trial. As a result of the crime, victims may die or become incapacitated, making law enforcement the essential to seeking justice.



Crime Still Doesnt Pay Very little criminal activity is organized crime. In fact, much of it is highly disorganized. Criminals pursue a career that offers very little reward, a high risk of failure and a retirement program operated by the state prison.