Ch 17: Crime & Criminal Justice in the U.S.

About This Chapter

View the engaging video lessons in this chapter to learn about crime and the U.S. criminal justice system. Discover types and theories of crime while also examining the impact of criminal behavior on communities.

Crime & Criminal Justice in the U.S. - Chapter Summary

In this chapter, you will make your way through several video lessons covering the topics of crime and criminal justice in the United States. Our instructors teach you about the characteristics of crime and its consequences for both criminals and the affected communities. You'll also take a look at theories from multiple fields that offer explanations as to why individuals commit crimes. After studying all of this chapter's video lessons, you should be able to:

  • Describe the types and legal characteristics of crime
  • Distinguish between criminal law and civil law
  • Explain the rational choice theory of criminology
  • Understand biological, sociological and psychological perspectives on crime
  • Discuss how demographics relate to the occurrence of crime
  • Identify how crime impacts the government and community
  • Explain the primary and secondary costs of victimization
  • Understand the legal, economic and social consequences of committing a crime

To help you grasp the crime concepts discussed in this chapter, we offer several tools and features. The video lessons, which are taught by professional instructors, are typically under 10 minutes in length. If you need to review major points, use our video timelines to jump to main points and avoid having to rewatch the entire video. We include a transcript with each lesson as well, which you can study to reinforce what you've learned through the videos. To test your understanding of the chapter's material, take the multiple-choice quizzes that accompany the lessons.

15 Lessons in Chapter 17: Crime & Criminal Justice in the U.S.
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Crime: Definition & Types

1. Crime: Definition & Types

Watch this video to explore the different types of crime. You'll learn about felonies, misdemeanors and violations. You'll also review various views on crime, as well as examine personal and property crimes.

Crime: Legal Characteristics & General Features

2. Crime: Legal Characteristics & General Features

Learn about the legal characteristics of crime. Find out what constitutes the actus reus, mens rea, and concurrence of a crime. Examine other general features of crime.

Criminal Law vs. Civil Law: Definitions and Differences

3. Criminal Law vs. Civil Law: Definitions and Differences

There are two main classifications of law. Criminal laws regulate crimes, or wrongs committed against the government. Civil laws regulate disputes between private parties. This lesson explains the main differences between criminal and civil law.

The Rational Choice Theory of Criminology

4. The Rational Choice Theory of Criminology

Many people weigh pros and cons when they have to make a big decision. But is the same true for people trying to decide whether to commit a crime? Watch this lesson for more on the rational choice theory of crime and hedonistic calculus.

Biological Theories of Crime: Overview & Features

5. Biological Theories of Crime: Overview & Features

Why do some people commit crimes, while others obey the law their whole lives? In this lesson, we'll examine one theory, the biological theory of criminology, including evidence supporting it and some of the shortcomings of the theory.

Psychological Theories of Crime: Assumptions & Weaknesses

6. Psychological Theories of Crime: Assumptions & Weaknesses

What makes you or me different from a criminal offender? Watch this lesson to find out more about the psychology behind crime, including the four basic aspects of psychological theories of crime and some common criticisms of them.

Sociological Theories of Crime: Overview & Features

7. Sociological Theories of Crime: Overview & Features

Why do crime rates vary from community to community? In this lesson, we'll take a look at sociological theories of criminology, including the social learning and social conflict theories and sociological programs to prevent crime.

The Chicago School's Social Disorganization Theory

8. The Chicago School's Social Disorganization Theory

Why do some neighborhoods have higher crime rates than others? What elements make a community vulnerable to crime? Watch this lesson to find out about the Chicago School of Criminology and the social disorganization theory of crime.

Labeling Theory and Crime: Stigma & Retrospective and Projective Labeling

9. Labeling Theory and Crime: Stigma & Retrospective and Projective Labeling

Labeling others is common in our society. In this lesson, we discuss the specifics of labeling theory, including when and why people are labeled. We also distinguish between retroactive and projective labeling and briefly discuss Travis Hirschi's control theory.

The Social Learning Theory of Crime

10. The Social Learning Theory of Crime

How much do your friends influence your behavior? In this lesson, we'll examine the social learning theory of criminology, including the ideas of differential association and differential reinforcement, and when the tenets of social learning theory are most likely to happen.

How Demographics Contribute to Crime

11. How Demographics Contribute to Crime

This lesson examines how demographics can tell us about crime. Review how social class relates to crime. In addition, examine how age, gender, and race are related to crime.

Crime's Effect on Community

12. Crime's Effect on Community

Crime can have a very dramatic impact on a community and can spiral out of control surprisingly quickly. Explore the effects of crime on community, and test your understanding with a brief quiz.

Crime's Effect on the Government

13. Crime's Effect on the Government

One of the most important aspects of government is maintaining law and order. In this lesson, we take a look at what happens when a society cannot maintain limits on crime and how that ultimately threatens the government.

The Concept & Cost of Victimization in Criminal Justice

14. The Concept & Cost of Victimization in Criminal Justice

This lesson introduces you to what it means to become a victim and the concept of victimization. You will also learn about the physical, financial, and emotional costs that a victim often faces once they have been victimized. Finally, you will learn what is being done for victims through a subfield of criminology known as victimology.

Consequences of Committing a Crime

15. Consequences of Committing a Crime

For those of you with criminal intentions, take a minute to consider the many consequences of committing a crime. In this lesson, you will explore the legal, economic, and social ramifications of crime, and test your understanding with a brief quiz.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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