What is a Crime : Definition Of Crime :Stages of Crime : Types of Crimes


What is a Crime?

What is Crime ?.....A crime is an offence that merits community condemnation and punishment, usually by way of fine or imprisonment. This is different from a civil wrong (a tort), which is an action against an individual that requires compensation or restitution.

What is a Crime : Definition Of Crime :Stages of Crime : Types of Crimes
What is a Crime

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Criminal offences are normally prosecuted by the State or the Commonwealth, whereas it is usually up to an individual to take a civil action to court. It is also possible for an individual to begin criminal proceedings, but this is very rare. Some matters, such as assault, can be both crimes and civil wrongs at the same time. The police can prosecute for assault and the victim can take civil action to recover money (or some other kind of compensation) for any injury suffered.


It is not always easy to tell when something is a crime. A person who takes money without permission commits a criminal offence, whereas a person who fails to pay back money commits a civil wrong (not a crime). Although a civil action can be commenced to recover the money, the borrower can only be prosecuted for a criminal offence if fraud is involved.


Definitions of Crime

James Stephen:

According to James Stephen “Crime is such an act which is prohibited or forbidden both by Law of land and moral values of society”.

Black's Law Dictionary  

A social harm that the law makes punishable, the breach of legal duty treated as the subject matter of criminal proceeding.


Crime is an act committed or omitted in violation of public law forbidding or commanding it.

Lateral meaning:

In literal sense crime means ‘every offence punishable by Law is crime’.

Stages of Crime

There are found stages of crime, a crime fully committed after completion of these four stages.

Intention: The intention is the first stage of any offense and is known as the mental or psycho stage. In this stage, the offender decides the motive and decides his course or direction towards the offense. The ironical fact about this stage is that the law cannot punish the person just for having an intention to do any illegal act. Moreover, being the mental concept, it is very difficult to judge if a person possesses any such intention. Just by having an intention will not constitute an offense.

Preparation: Preparation is the second stage of crime. It means to arrange the necessary resources for the execution of the intentional criminal act. Intention and preparation alone are not enough to constitute a crime. Preparation is not punishable because in many cases the prosecution fails to prove that the preparations in the question are for the execution of the particular crime.

Attempt: An attempt is a direct movement towards the execution of a crime after the preparation of the plan. According to law, a person is guilty of an attempt to commit an offense if he/she does an act which is more than simply preparatory to the commission of the offense. Moreover, a person is guilty of attempting to commit an offense even though the facts are such that the execution of the offense seems to be impossible.


Accomplishment: The last stage in the commission of an offense is its successful completion. If the accused becomes successful in his attempt to commit the crime, he will be guilty of the complete offense. Moreover, if his attempt is unsuccessful he will be guilty of his attempt.

Types of crime

A crime is defined as any act that is contrary to legal code or laws. There are many different types of crimes, from crimes against persons to victimless crimes and violent crimes to white collar crimes.


Crimes Against Persons 

Crimes against persons, also called personal crimes, include murder, aggravated assault, rape, and robbery. Personal crimes are unevenly distributed in the United States, with young, urban, poor, and racial minorities committing these crimes more than others.


Crimes Against Property

Property crimes involve theft of property without bodily harm, such as burglary, larceny, auto theft, and arson. Like personal crimes, young, urban, poor, and racial minorities generally commit these crimes more than others.


Victimless /Crimes against Morality

Crimes against morality are also called victimless crimes because there is not complainant, or victim. Prostitution, illegal gambling, and illegal drug use are all examples of victimless crimes.


White-Collar Crime

White-collar crimes are crimes that committed by people of high social status who commit their crimes in the context of their occupation. This includes embezzling (stealing money from one’s employer), insider trading, and tax evasion and other violations of income tax laws.

Organized Crime


Organized crime is crime committed by structured groups typically involving the distribution of illegal goods and services to others. Many people think of the Mafia when they think of organized crime, but the term can refer to any group that exercises control over large illegal enterprises (such as the drug trade, illegal gambling, prostitution, weapons smuggling, or money laundering).


Drug crimes.

The drugcrime category encompasses a range of offenses connected with the use, transportation, purchase, and sale of illegal drugs.

Street crime

The most common forms of predatory crime—rape, robbery, assault, burglary, larceny, and auto theft—occur most frequently on urban streets. Racial minority citizens account for a disproportionately high number of the arrests for street crimes.

Political crime

The politicalcrime category contains both crimes by the government and crimes against the government. Political goals motivate political criminals.

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