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What Is Crime and Its Different Types

Crime is any conduct that violates a legal code or other laws. Crime and legality, in other words, are dynamic social conceptions subject to change. Crimes occur in a variety of forms: violent crimes, victimless crimes, crimes against people, and white-collar crimes. The study of deviance and crime lies under the discipline of sociology, with a focus on who commits what kinds of crimes and why. This blog will provide a deep understanding of crime and its different types. 

What Is Crime?

Crime is the deliberate performance of an act explicitly stated, prohibited, unlawful, and punished by criminal law, which is considered harmful and damaging to society. The definitions of specific crimes contained in a code must be analyzed in the context of many concepts, out of them some may not be defined in the code itself. The majority of crime is classified on the seriousness of the act or conduct. 

Seriousness is generally determined by the type or length of the penalty specified in the statute. A felony is defined as a crime that carries a sentence of more than a year in prison or the death penalty.  Major felonies include; kidnapping, murder, rape, insider trading, armed robbery, embezzlement, racketeering, and fraud. Misdemeanor crimes are less serious than felonies and often carry a maximum sentence of six months in jail. Examples are minor drug offenses, shoplifting, reckless driving, and prostitution.

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What Are the Elements of Crime?

Every crime must satisfy all requirements for that particular crime to be proven guilty.  If the action of a person satisfies every requirement of an offense, they are said to have committed a crime. The offense and its elements are outlined under the same criminal statute.

Generally, there are three elements to every crime:

  1. The action or behavior
  2. The person’s psychological state at that moment
  3. The causal relationship between the action and the impact

To prove each element of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt, the government must provide evidence in a criminal prosecution. The government is responsible for the burden of proof. 

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Types of Crime

The types of crime range from murder to shoplifting. Penalties can vary from the death sentence to community service. There are many distinct criminal acts, some of the following are mentioned below:

  • Crimes against a person 
  • Crimes against a property
  • Organized crimes
  • Crimes against morality
  • Inchoate crimes
  • Statutory crimes
  • Hate crime
  • White collar crimes
  • Environmental Crimes
  • Street Crimes
  • Cyber Crimes 
  • Fraud
  • Domestic Crimes
  • Perjury
  • Financial and other crimes

1) Crimes Against A Person

Crimes against persons or acts of violence are vigorously pursued under criminal laws. These offenses have severe punishments, and law enforcement aims to impose the longest terms possible. A victim advocate is allocated to every case, and throughout the criminal court system, the advocate will offer information and support to the victim and their family. The Adult Prosecution Division is in charge of prosecuting all adult serious felonies against individuals. The Juvenile Division or the Gang Unit will take up the case if the defendant is a child or a known member of a gang.

Crimes against a person include kidnapping, robbery, manslaughter, child abuse, murder, assault and battery, sexual assault.

2) Crimes Against Property

Crime against property, in most cases, is the interference with another person’s property. They generally result in the suspension of the use or pleasure of property, however, they may involve harm to an individual physically or mentally as well. Crimes against property have penalties based on the type of offense, the value of the property, and, if any, the criminal history of the person who committed the crime. Charges and punishment may also be determined by the kind of property.

Crimes against property include theft, auto theft, destruction of property, shoplifting, grand theft, and arson.

3) Organized Crimes

The illegal operations of people who belong to criminal organizations that provide illicit goods and services are referred to as “organized crime.” Distributing and selling illicit products and services are common activities carried out by organized crime groups. When most people think of organized crime, they immediately think of the Mafia, although the phrase can also apply to any group that controls significant illicit businesses. 

The idea that such businesses are structured likely to be lawful firms and adopt a corporate structure is a fundamental sociological idea in the study of organized crime. Senior partners generally oversee profits, employees oversee and run the company, and customers purchase the products and services that are provided by the enterprise.

Organized crimes include money laundering, drug trade, illegal gambling, cannabis cultivation,  and arms smuggling.

4) Crimes Against Morality

Crimes against morals, frequently referred to as victimless crimes, are transgressions that do not include harm to a person or piece of property.  Since they violate the law, they may be subject to a monetary penalty, prison time, or other penalties as specified by statute. Depending on the nature of the act, punishments for moral violations can vary from fines to years behind bars. For example, in Florida, a first-time prostitution offense warrants a maximum $500 fine and a further 60 days in prison. Repeat breaches carry a $5,000 fine and an authorized sentence of five years in jail.

Crimes against morality include illegal gambling, bigamy, indecent exposure, prostitution, ill illegal drug use. 

5) Inchoate Crimes

Crimes that start but are not finished are referred to as inchoate crimes. These are actions that aid in the execution of another crime. To commit an inchoate crime, one must have more than just the intention or possibility of committing a crime. However, to be declared guilty, the accused must make significant progress toward the carrying out of the crime. Inchoate crimes could face the same punishment in specific situations as the underlying crime, or they may get a less severe penalty in others. 

Inchoate crimes include conspiracy, aiding and abetting, and attempts. 

6) Statutory Crimes

All criminal offenses are technically considered statutory crimes since they are all prohibited by statute. The acts forbidden for societal improvement and safety are referred to as statutory crimes in this sense. Statutory crimes can also be defined as offenses against morals. Manufacturing or trafficking in significant quantities of drugs, such as one kilogram of cocaine, is illegal in Florida, US, and involves a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison as well as a penalty of $250,000. The offense itself, as well as any aggravating or mitigating factors, will determine the specific penalties.

Statutory crimes include public intoxication, traffic offenses, reckless driving, selling alcohol to minors, drug cultivation, and hit-and-run.

7) Hate Crimes

Hate crimes are crimes motivated by prejudice against people or property confined to race, gender, gender identity, handicap, religion,  sexual orientation, or ethnicity. However, there have been certain events that have led to rises in hate crimes, and the nationwide rate of hate crimes is generally stable from year to year. In the United States,  Hate crimes increased after Donald Trump’s election in 2016.

8) White Collar Crimes

White-collar crimes are those committed by financially secure people who do so within the framework of their particular field of work. White-collar criminals act unethically either for their advantage or the profit of the company when it comes to embezzlement or corporate price-fixing, The environment, customers, employers, and the economy are all victims of white-collar crime. While white-collar crimes are even more damaging for society in terms of total amounts, the public is generally less worried about them than it is about other sorts of crime.

As an example, it is possible to see that several white-collar crimes inside the home mortgage business contributed to the Great Recession. However, because these offenses are shielded by a confluence of advantages related to race, class, and gender, they are typically the least looked into and prosecuted.

White-collar crimes include election law violations, corporate fraud, healthcare fraud, forgery, insider training, investment fraud, money laundering, and tax evasion. 

9) Environmental Crimes

There are criminal provisions in many federal environmental statutes. These include the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), Fungicide, the Federal Insecticide,  and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (also known as the Refuse Act), the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (also known as the Clean Water Act), the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), and the Clean Air Act. 

For example, discharging pollutants into waterways for navigation without a permit is penalized by the Clean Water Act, which imposes fines of up to $25,000 per day and imprisonment of up to a year.  In criminal proceedings, the statute expressly names “responsible corporate officers” as prospective defendants.

10) Street Crimes

Street crimes are crimes against people or property that occur in public areas.  These crimes can hurt or distress people or companies in public places, and they frequently have an immediate effect on the community. To protect the public, law enforcement organizations usually focus on investigating and preventing these offenses.  The proportion of arrests for street crimes that involve members of racial minorities is disproportionately significant.

Street crimes include auto theft, stealing, assault, robbery, rape, graffiti, and vandalism.

11) Cyber Crime

Cybercrime is the term for using a computer to carry out illegal activities such as fraud, identity theft, the trafficking of child pornographic and intellectual property theft, and privacy violations. The number of cases of cybercrime, particularly via the Internet, has increased as computers have become fundamental to government, entertainment, and the economy. Cybercrime primarily has financial effects. Several profit-driven criminal activities fall under the umbrella of cybercrime, such as identity theft, ransomware attacks, email and internet fraud, and efforts to steal credit cards, bank accounts, or other data associated with payment cards.

12) Fraud 

Fraud is the word used to signify the deliberate use of deceit to get value, most commonly money. False statements, misrepresentations, or dishonest behavior meant to mislead or deceive are typically used in fraud cases. Money laundering from illegal operations, benefit fraud, and tax fraud are all examples of fraud. To deal with fraud, the government will:

  • Providing basic police training and a greater emphasis on financial investigations
  • Confiscating properties possessed by criminals and money that has been laundered
  • Enhancing the Fiscal Information and Investigation Service’s (FIOD-ECD) ability to conduct financial investigations

13) Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse is illegal under both civil and criminal law. Domestic abuse is an abusive pattern in which one spouse affects the other intimate partner to obtain or keep control of the relationship. Physical abuse as well as coercive, threatening, or dominating behavior can be recognized as forms of domestic abuse. The abuser will be subject to prison time, monetary penalties, and court expenses if found guilty. If the abuser has been accused of domestic violence once or more in the past, the new allegation will be increased to a felony. If found guilty of a felony, the abuser can be sentenced to state jail, charges, and court expenses.

14) Perjury

Perjury is giving a false oath in court or during another official action, whether verbally or in writing. It is referred to as the false swearing. If an oath was given corruptly, implying that it was taken knowing it was unfounded or without a genuine belief that it was true, then it was perjurious. 

An unintentional inaccuracy is not considered perjury. Even if a statement is true, the person who made it is guilty of perjury if they believe it is untrue. Phrases like “I don’t remember” or  “to the best of my knowledge”  are insufficient to shield a liar from being found guilty of perjury. Nonetheless, the false statement must be material that is, essential to the question the court is trying to answer to sustain a charge of perjury.

15) Financial and Other Crimes

Financial crime is any behavior that makes it possible for a person or organization to illegally get financial assets (money, investments, or other property). Either directly robbing a person or organization or unlawfully manipulating or hiding the legal ownership of an asset, are the usual scenarios. Since financial crimes mainly target assets rather than individuals, they are also referred to as “white-collar crime” (though that is not always true). The financial condition of people, as well as regional or worldwide markets, could remain severely harmed by it. 

Understanding Patterns of Crimes in Sociology

Even though the phrases “crime” and “deviance” are sometimes used interchangeably, they are not the same thing: criminal acts break the law, whereas deviance questions social standards. Deviant conduct may occasionally coincide with illegal activity. There are four major viewpoints on deviance offered by sociology: structural functionalism, conflict theory, social strain typology, and labeling theory. Each of these perspectives provides a basic understanding that is essential for understanding more general sociological theories of crime.

1) Structural Functionalism

According to structural functionalism, deviant behavior is beneficial to society since it unites disparate segments of the population. This is so that transgression can reinforce our cultural norms and values by helping to draw distinctions between what is and is not acceptable conduct. Deviant behavior can upset the social equilibrium, but in the course of restoring it, society may have to modify the norms of society. Put another way, because deviant behavior disrupts conventions and fosters social cohesiveness, it can eventually contribute to social stability.

2) Conflict Theory

Conflict theory emphasizes how deviant behavior may arise from alleged injustices and seeks to fix societal imbalances. It also underlines how competition for limited assets and social inequality can cause deviant behavior. These acts of deviance are frequently viewed from the Conflict Theory perspective as the language of the unheard, an instrument by which marginalized groups express their complaints and call for social transformation in a society that may not sufficiently attend to their requirements or issues.

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3) Social Strain Typology

The Social Strain Typology uses a person’s commitment to cultural ideals and views about attaining societal goals to classify deviant behavior. It distinguishes between ritualism, invention, revolt, retreatism, and conformity as the five main categories of social deviance. This idea implies that people who try to fulfill normative objectives may act in abnormal ways. For example, some people may resort to crime to fulfill the accepted social goal of living a lavish lifestyle. According to this theory, deviation means choosing a particular convention over another, emphasizing the inherent tension that exists between a person’s pursuit of their aims and societal norms.

4) Labeling Theory

According to the labeling theory, a person’s deviant behavior often comes from being assigned a label that implies deviation, like when a teacher labels a pupil as a troublemaker. After being given a label, the individual might take on this identity and start exhibiting the attitudes and actions that go along with it. 

This idea focuses on how people take on unusual traits due to the identities that society forces upon them. It sheds light on how a person’s behaviors may be understood concerning the metaphorical labels they have come into contact with during their lives.

What Are the Functions of Criminal Law?

Listed below are just a few of the many advantageous functions that criminal law provides in contemporary society:

1) Resolving Conflicts:  

Criminal law permits individuals to settle their differences amicably by applying the law of the land.

2) Maintaining Law of Order: 

Criminal law gives society structure and a reliable framework in times of violence and injustice.

3) People Safety: 

The law gives victims’ rights to justice and safeguards the weak. There are fines and penalties associated with committing a crime.

4) Preserving Civil Liberties: 

The criminal justice framework defends each person’s rights and gives them access to essential justice.

5) Encouraging a Functioning Society: 

The government can enforce tax collection, pollution management, and other socially beneficial initiatives through the use of criminal law.

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Learn Types of Crime with the Best Diplomats

Types of crimes can be classified as political in nature, property, or person-related (e.g., bribing public officials, false swearing under oath, using public resources like the Internet or mail to conduct fraud, or conducting other white-collar crimes). 

Best Diplomats is an international organization arranging international diplomatic conferences worldwide to spread awareness among the youth about diplomacy and the major concepts of international relations including criminology as a subfield of sociology. You can benefit from Best Diplomats by becoming a part of it.

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All societies have crime at some point in time. However, some patterns and trends appear to show up consistently at various times and locations. Traditional societies that is, rural and agricultural communities lacking substantial economic development generally have lower rates of property crime and higher rates of violent crime as compared to economically advanced societies. In communities with a long history, violent crimes like assault, rape, and murder are not uncommon and are frequently seen as inevitable facets of daily existence. Violence becomes more and more abhorrent as these nations modernize and prosper economically.

Modern crime has changed in step with technology, creating a challenging environment for both society and law enforcement. While traditional criminal acts continue, the digital age has led to an increase in computer crimes such as identity theft, internet fraud, and hacking. The basic goals are still to maintain the rule of law, safeguard public safety, and protect people and their neighborhoods despite these changes. Managing crime in its modern manifestations requires vigilance, innovative thinking, and a complete strategy.


What Is Criminal Behavior?

Criminal behavior can be defined as an offender’s actions that result in the execution of an illegal act. When there is an intention, a means, and an opportunity, an unlawful act takes place.

What Are The Theories of Crime?

There are five criminological theories including Moffit’s developmental theory, positivist theory,  general theory, classical theory, and life course theory. Each of them puts out a distinct hypothesis that analyzes criminal behavior.

Which Crime Is the Most Difficult?

Some white-collar crimes, like embezzlement and fraud, can be harder to prosecute than others. This is because these crimes are typically thoroughly investigated, which indicates there will be an enormous amount of evidence to look through.

Which Are the Worst Humanity Crimes?

The use of weapons of mass destruction, state terrorism or state sponsorship of terrorism, death squads, murder, war crimes,  massacres, genocide,  dehumanization, deportations, unethical human experimentation, ethnic cleansing,  and extrajudicial punishments are examples of crimes against humanity.

Oleksandra Mamchii

Working as a academic lead at Best Diplomats.

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