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Why is crime so hard to define?

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Introduction

Why is crime so hard to define? Crime is one thing in our society that continues to cause trouble and heated discussion. Not only through the act itself and the devastation it can cause but also through the very definition of what a crime is. Why is it that some people would consider playing your music too loud after 11pm a crime, others a nuisance and others not a problem at all? This is a clear example of someone causing a crime but not everyone will see it that way. What I will be looking at is the two main definitions of crime and proving that neither one is good enough to give a definitive answer on what crime is. Taking that one step further I will prove that crime can never be defined successfully and explain why. The first definition of crime I will be looking at is the legal standpoint of crime and if crime can be stated quite simply as an act that breaks the law. The second definition is the moral view of crime and whether crime is an offence to some deeper moral standing we have rather than listed rules and regulations. Breaking the law Law-n. 1 a rule or system of rules recognised by a country or community as governing the actions of its members. That is the official definition of what a law is by the Oxford English Dictionary. ...read more.

Middle

Reported in a major newspaper, this story told of a female pensioner that had been repeatedly broken into and then received no concrete help from the police. She then took the law into her own hands and placed barbed wire all around her fencing. After several complaints she was told to take it down by the police but refused at which point she was told in no certain terms she would be the one to be prosecuted if she did not remove the wire immediately. Putting barbed wire on your property to protect it especially after being broken into does not seem like a crime but according to English law it is. And English law has too many 'strange laws' in there that calls something a crime when it isn't. Another example is the man that was prosecuted for dangerous driving while driving down the motorway eating a Kit-Kat. The police said that he wasn't in full control of his vehicle because he didn't have two hands on the steering wheel. Does this mean we can never indicate, change gear or blow our noses ever again? These offences don't seem to be classed as a crime to most of us but more like reasonable behaviour. Most people believe that when a criminal commits a crime he has forfeited any rights to belong to society and needs to be punished. ...read more.

Conclusion

But we can't use morality as definition of crime because each society, each country, each culture has their own specific viewpoint on what morality is for them. There can be no universal definition of crime because there is no universal crime. All forms of crime are acceptable in some situation, even something like murder. Although we punish people in this country for murder, when the Inca's in South America made sacrifices to their gods until the walls and alters were stained with blood, that was deemed as acceptable. It is a crime for someone to have sex under the age of 16 in this country yet tribes in Africa are marrying their daughters off as young as 11. It is illegal to carry a hand gun in this country but go to certain states in America and your fine. We can't properly define crime because it is something that is unique to our own society and it also changes with time. One of the most heated debates is the legalisation of cannabis. Not even 50 years ago anyone who was caught smoking the drug, never mind dealing it was arrested and punished. Now because our society has changed and peoples opinions have relaxed the smoking of cannabis isn't such a big deal to a lot of people and this is why there is an ongoing fight for the legalisation of the drug. Therein lies the fundamental problem with any definition of crime. As soon as you have defined it things have changed and it no longer applies. ...read more.

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