What is criminology?

What is criminology?

We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

The Criminology It is a discipline that aims to study criminal crime from a multidimensional social perspective: the causes of crime, the social impact of crime, the understanding of criminal behavior and the motivations that lead an individual to commit such an act.


  • 1 What Criminology studies
  • 2 Criminology Theories
  • 3 Criminology: sociological bases
  • 4 The development of Criminology

What Criminology studies

The work of a criminologist generally focuses on the study of:

  • The criminals
  • Crimes
  • The victims of crime (victimology)
  • Theories that explain illegal and / or deviant behavior
  • The social reaction to crime
  • The political terrain of social control
  • The effectiveness of anti-crime policies

Criminologists seek answers to what really happens on the streets, in the courts, in police stations and behind bars. They base their studies on diverse knowledge of disciplines such as sociology, psychology, medicine, anthropology, physics, chemistry and even mathematics, indirectly relying on criminal law and other criminal sciences or forensic.

They also look for answers by studying the socio-cultural, economic and global roots of crime, the meaning of crime, and crime rates, and by measuring criminal activity and its impact on criminals and society as a whole.

Criminologists collect much of their information by analyzing data sets, statistical studies and ethnographic studies on topics such as drug use and homicide rates, among others.

Criminology Theories

Criminology tries to explain the crimes within a social context and the variations between societies and cultures. Within the study of Criminology, there are three main theories that try to explain why criminals do what they do:

  • Classic: The classic theory of criminology suggests that people commit crimes when they believe that the benefits of crime are greater than the possible costs. People who believe in this theory are likely to believe that the logical way to reduce crime is to give criminals more severe penalties.
  • Positivist: The theory of positivist criminology tries to explain that crime is affected by both internal and external factors, which are beyond the control of the criminal. In other words, it is suggested that a number of biological and social factors can lead to criminal behavior. Suggests that things such as poverty and lack of education cause higher crime rates; Therefore, crime can be reduced if educational and employment opportunities are presented to people with socio-economic disadvantages.
  • Individual feature: This theory suggests that the most distinguishable differences between criminals and non-criminals are biological and psychological. Therefore, it suggests that the only way to reduce crime is to limit the interaction of those with the same biological and psychological characteristics as much as possible.

Criminology: sociological bases

Criminology is best understood as a study, not as a discipline, which has its roots in sociology and in the traditions and methodologies of important thinkers such as Marx and Weber. In other words, the study of crime and social control are interrelated and interconnected.

Criminologists to study the causes of criminal activity among different groups of people, mix the areas of social sciences, psychology and criminal justice. His job is to investigate how factors such as socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity and can influence crime, as well as the study of previous studies and the success / failure rates of specific methods of law enforcement and judgment.

Other examinations among criminologists include how individuals react to certain types of crimes, how crime affects culture and the consequences of crime on victims, their families and other citizens.

The development of Criminology

Criminology attempts to build theories that explain why some crimes occur and why criminals commit crimes. Theories are tested by observing behavior and studying statistics. Criminological theories are used to shape how society responds to crime, both in terms of preventing future incidents of crime and the response to criminals who commit such crimes.

The study of criminology dates back to the beginning of the 18th century, when scholars began to distinguish the moment of committing a crime, trying to explain why the crime occurred. This first foray into the study of crime is referred to as the classic criminology.

In the beginning of the 19th century, modern criminology began to take shape, thus the study of criminology was recognized as a subdiscipline of Psychology and Sociology. During this time, criminology associations and criminology journals began to emerge, especially in the United States, where it has a greater relevance.

The last part of the twentieth century caused the beginning of a third phase in Criminology, at which time this field of study began to “become independent” from the other disciplines and began to develop itself as an independent social science. A number of universities began to offer it as undergraduate and graduate programs and professional associations and journals became widespread.