Crime & Law Enforcement Articles | HubPages Politics and Social Issues

A crime is any force of illegal activity that may be punishable by law. Laws vary from place to place, thus what constitutes a crime also varies depending on where you are. In many countries, there are overlapping sets of laws that change from state to state and city to city.

In a sense, its accurate to say that crime is created by laws, since they would not exist without them. Worldwide, however, there is a general consensus against crimes like rape, theft, and murder.

Usually, though not always, the act of committing a crime must be accompanied by the intention to do so. Thus, though every crime is a breach of law, not every breach of law is a crime.

Crime and the Government

Most governments reserve the right to restrict the liberty of those who commit crimes, depending on the offense. In some cases, the person must pay a fine, devote time to community service, or spend time in prison if caught.

In some places, a person can even be killed. Normally, the type of punishment is in accordance with the perceived severity of the infraction. For example, shoplifting charges normally increase according to the value of what was stolen.

Law enforcement refers to the system by which a society tries to keep people from breaking the law and punishes those who do. The police are a well-known form of law enforcement, though there are other types, depending on the kind of crime.

Specialized forms of enforcement include military police, campus police, or the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the US, which is responsible for investigating federal crimes as opposed to local or state crimes.

Technology and surveillance has grown to be an increasingly important part of law enforcement, especially in a post 9-11 world in which the power of the US government to monitor its citizens was greatly increased with the intended goal of fighting terrorism.

Crime and law enforcement is a popular topic in the media and is featured in the news frequently (especially violent crime) as well as in television shows like NCIS, Law and Order and CSI.

Criminalization is the process of punishment or using the threat of punishment to deter future crimes. It is a process that the government has taken on as society developed, since private citizens dont have a vested interest in trying to prevent crime. Furthermore, victims may be unwilling or unable to punish the person who harmed them. In addition, they may not want to because of fear of retaliation.

Theories of Criminalization

It has been speculated that the use of the term criminal has been a way to demonize certain segments of the population, making it easier to restrict their rights. Furthermore, the use of force to ensure compliance with the law has proven to be a theoretical problem, since in some cases the very actions that are used to enforce laws, given other circumstances, would themselves be considered crimes.

Have you had any personal experience with the justice system? Know someone who has? Share what you know and join the conversation in the HubPages forums.

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