What is Criminology, Crime, Criminal Law | Scope of Criminology

What is Criminology, Crime, Criminal Law | Scope of Criminology
Question: What is Criminology ? Discuss criminology as a subject. Differentiate between crime, criminology and criminal law. Also highlight the scope of criminology.

What is Criminology ?

According to Oxford dictionary of Law, criminology is the study of crime. It is an interdisciplinary field that combines the aspects of the legal theory and substantive legal disciplines with approaches based on psychology, sociology and moral philosophy.

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Definitions of Criminology:  

  • According to Black’s dictionary of Law
“The study of crime and  punishment as a social phenomenon; the study of causes of crime and the treatment of crime are called criminology.”  
  • Interpretation of Criminology
According to Oxford dictionary of Law, criminology is the study of crime. It is an interdisciplinary field that combines the aspects of the legal theory and substantive legal disciplines with approaches based on psychology, sociology and moral philosophy.          

Now as we know that criminology is an interdisciplinary field so it is divided into several branches for the ease of study. Each branch provides us a different approach for learning.                    

Relationship of Criminology with other branches of learning

  • Criminology and Criminal
Both are related through behavioral sciences   

i.e. why human beings behave in a way they do in a given society. These behavioral sciences may be psychology or psychiatry.  

Thus, criminology helps us to understand why certain people living under certain circumstances in a certain society commit crimes i.e. murder, kidnapping, rape, assault, robbery etc. It helps the criminologists to understand human behavior and also helps them to formulate police to prevent further crimes.  

  • Criminology and Crime
Crime is the behaviour of human being designated  as foul or offensive by the criminal justice system. In other words the human behaviour is not criminal until it is designated as such by the legal system.Criminology involves the scientific study of law i.e. sociological jurisprudence. The study of human behaviour will also include the behaviour of police, lawyers, prosecutors and judges towards crime and criminal.  
  • Criminology and Criminal Law  
Criminal law is evolved from human societies over the course of time. It emerged when the states were formed on the basis of political power and authority. The criminal law was then formed to create a sense of peace and law and order in the societies. The political and legal aspects of crime are also known as legal criminology.  
  • Scientific Criminology
The goal of scientific criminology is to understand the human behaviour in order to prevent crime and criminal behaviour. On the other had the goal of legal criminology is to find the guilt and criminal mind and punish it within the legal system. Scientific criminology leads to a remedial model of crime control with research and victim compensation at beginning and offender’s resocialization at the end.  
  • Criminology and Crime Prevention Legislation
Criminal law is the will of common people expressed by their elected representatives through legislation in parliament. It is the oldest way to maintain law and order in a society. Here the knowledge of criminology helps the legislators to prepare a particular law for a particular crime to prevent it from further happening.  
  • Criminology and Criminal Justice
Criminal justice refers to the agencies which are responsible for social control. These include police, victim assistance, prosecution and judiciary. It also includes probation, parole and prison after the judgment from justice system.  
Here again the knowledge of criminology helps in rehabilitation of convicted criminals and also in prevention from further happenings.



Criminal Law

It is an act prohibited by law

It is the study of Crime

These are laws which deals with crime and their punishments

A crime is also forbidden by moral values of society

It finds out the causes of crime happening in the society

It offers a chance of retribution to the criminal

A victim is harmed morally, physically or mentally by the crime performed by Criminal   

It helps in finding the ways to prevent the crime from further happening

It imposes a penalty on the offenders to discourage from further committing crime

The types of crime vary from small crimes like pocket picking to severe crimes like assault, abduction murder etc.

It also helps with the rehabilitation of criminals

It keeps the offenders away from society through incapacitation in the form of prison sentences or house arrests  

It breaches the law and order of society

It studies the effects of crime on society

It maintains law and order in the society

It may arise many disputes

It studies the response of general public towards the crime

It helps in resolving disputes

For example: Abduction, Assault, Burglary, Robbery, Murder etc.

For example: A criminology studies the causes of rise in burglary cases in society and prevent ideas for further prevention   

For example: Section 445 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) refers to the offence of house breaking

Scope of Criminology     

Criminology is the body of knowledge regarding crime as a social phenomenon. It includes within its scope, the process of making laws, or breaking laws and ways of reacting towards the breaking of laws.   

The scope of criminology is increasing day by day. It has a very significant value in both practical and theoretical terms.      

Following are different aspects of scope of criminology:

  • Primary Aspect

The primary aspect of the scope of criminology is that it urges people to do research on crime and criminals and learn about their nature. They do so because it is in the nature of humans that they want to keep safe themselves and their loved ones or their property from any harm in future. It does not only happen on individual basis but also at the level of a society. The societies which show interest in crime, and ponder upon the reason of their happening, usually counter them in a better way in future. 

  • Scope in Pakistani Society

Working on the true aspects of criminology is required at most in Pakistan. In Pakistan the criminal justice system has so many flaws that it creates a sense of insecurity in the Pakistani people. They don’t usually trust the police, prosecution or judiciary. This feeling is even more dangerous than the direct damage caused by a crime.  

So, by working on the true aspects of criminology, the trust of the people can be regained by discarding the flaws in our criminal justice system. This can be done by providing easy, cheap and quick justice to the victim. This would greatly discourage the criminals from doing crimes.  All of this can only be possible by correct implementation of the aspects of criminology.  

  • Relation with Criminal Law

Criminal law is a field which covers all the aspects related to a crime. It is formed by legislations done by the elected representatives in parliament. However, criminologists play a key role in formulation of these laws as they have complete knowledge about the causes, affects and prevention of crime.  

  • Understanding the main intention of Criminal Law

The main intention of criminal law is to create an authority of the state over the society highlighting the acts and omissions which challenge its authority.   

Any breach of these acts or omissions would be dealt by the criminal law. The field of criminology would help the people to understand the requirement of a particular criminal law, its values and its effects on the society.  

  • Understanding Criminal Law of Pakistan

The criminal law of Pakistan  mostly dates back to the British colonial era. The law was molded according to the socio-cultural values of the area. That’s why it was accepted as basic criminal law even after the independence. Criminology helps us to understand the relation between our society and our criminal law and how much it is accepted by the people of our society.  

  • Relation with Criminal Justice System

The field of criminology highlights the parameters of different agencies of criminal justice system. This tells about the field of work for the police, prosecution, judiciary, probation, parole and prisons. 

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