What is Crime? Definition according to Legal and Social Parlance!

Any act of omission or commission that is against the law and is punishable by the law of the land is called a crime. Crime can founds its definition in social


Shubham Kumar

1/29/20245 min read

Crime is defined as omission and commission of an unlaw full act, or any act which is against the law stated by government. Crime has been advanced due to modern influence, advancement of technology as well as dur to evolution.

In this article we are going to explore about What if Crime, its characteristics, causes and classifications. Be seated!

What is Crime?

Any act of omission or commission that is against the law and is punishable by the law of the land is called a crime.

Crime can be defined by the following four concepts:

  1. Legalistic: Any act that is against the law made by the country is called a crime. It is punishable by law and known to all.

  2. Socialistic: Any act that is against the social values and etiquettes of society. This may not be punishable by law because social values depend on society to society. For example, polluting the environment.

  3. Moralistic: Any act that is against the moral values and equities of society. For example, advertising for alcohol.

  4. Functionalistic: Any act that disrupts the smooth functioning and creates chaos in society. For example, damaging public property.

Definition in accordance with Social Aspects

Crime in sociological parlance is the deviant behavior of a person that is the established or accepted standards of behaviors of a society. The deviance is from the social, religious, educational and political norms of a society. It is time variant and region variant and is affected by the religious beliefs and social practices of the crime affected people.

Definition in accordance with Legal Aspects

Crime in legal parlance, is an act which is against the law of land. The act adversely affects the victim (a person, a group of a persons, or the society as a whole). Usually the element of intention/motive lurks behind the criminal act.

For orderly normal, and proper societal functioning, the legal concept of crime prevails. It is an act of an individual or individuals that involves breach of the established rules or laws, usually enacted law: national or international laws, or the rules and norms of a functional group, society, or of a community.

Variation in Definition related to time and place

The concept of crime is place variant. Moreover, the crime as a legal concept varies from country to country, society to society, and even from locality to locality. Some of the examples are

  • LGBTQ marriages are not an offence in some countries, however, in other countries, it is an unnatural offence.

  • Driving after consuming limited liquor is prohibited under many jurisdictions, nevertheless, the limited amount of liquor is allowed in some.

  • Possession of firearms requires license, however, in some countries, the license is not required.

  • Production of liquor for home consumption is allowed in certain areas of Himachal Pradesh, nevertheless, not in other parts of the same state.

The concept of crime is time variant. Sati was an honored custom among the Rajput's in India, in medieval time period. However, it is seen as violation of human rights and regarded as the serious offences of murder.

Some tribes in Africa and at other places used to abandon their aged relatives in jungles where they would die of hunger, natural elements, or were killed by the jungle beasts. However, It is illegal in most of the societies.

Classification of Crime

Crime has been classified in various forms:

Common traditional way of classification of crime encompasses:
  • Offences against Person

  • Offences against Property

  • Crime against State

The National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB), Ministery of Home Affairs and the Government of India has also classified the crime on Victimology. The major classes, given by NCRB
  • Violent Crimes

  • Crime Against Women

  • Unlawful act Against Children

  • Crime against Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe

  • Property Crimes

  • Cybercrimes.

The major types of Modern-Day crimes and Traditional Crimes:
  • Terrorism

  • Corruption

  • Money Laundering

  • Black Money in Foreign Banks

  • Cybercrimes including internet and computer crimes

  • Misuse of Mobile Phone

  • Drug Abuse, their illegal manufacture and trade

  • Organized Crime

  • Illegal Arms Manufacture, Trade and Trafficking

  • Juvenile Delinquency

  • Smuggling and drug trafficking

  • Political crime

  • Public order crime

Peculiar crimes, especially native to India:
  • Honour Killings

  • Femal Foeticide and Infanticide

  • Dowry Deaths


  1. External Influence: Behind every crime, there is a certain reason. That reason can be for their own profit or for someone else's profit. That reason will influence a person to commit a crime.

  2. Men's rea: There must be a wrongful state of mind or criminal intent associated with the act. This means that the perpetrator must have intended to commit the act or acted with recklessness or negligence, depending on the specific crime

  3. Actus Reus: The act must violate an established legal duty or obligation. This duty can be defined by statutory law, common law, or other legal standards and regulations.

  4. Prohibited act: Criminal behavior typically results in legal consequences, which can include penalties such as fines, probation, imprisonment, or other forms of punishment as determined by the legal system.

  5. Due Process: The accused has the right to a fair trial, legal representation, and other due process protections as guaranteed by the legal system.

Causes of Crime

Though, there are many causes of crime, yet some causes hold Prominet grounds while addressing the reason or the cause of behind the crime. They are people variant and time variant. Earlier, the main reason behind the crime committed were grouped in three categories, infamously called as 3 Z behind the crimes.

  1. Zun (Women): The women in olden days, holds significant figures as sources of crime in most of the societies. Adultery, rape, kidnapping, assault, sexual perversions, natural & unnatural offence and their possession were the sole cause behind many crimes. For example: the famous war in Indian History- Alauddin-Padmini!

  2. Zamin (Land): Since, Land was the main source of subsistence in olden days, the conflicts related to land at that time often leads to violent crimes like murders. The conflicts on Land, still existed in terms of property disputes and criminals have generated new ways to commit crime other than murder. These are forgery and identity theft.

  3. Zar (Money and Wealth): Zar is the most active beacon for many evil minds to commit variety of crimes in order to gain it. Crimes like, theft, robbery, dacoity, kidnappings for ransom, smuggling, and trading in illegal drugs and arms, are often committed in search of Zar.

The knowledge and information related to the cause of crime and their control is important. They form important investigative and research fields with the psychologist and the sociologist.

This blog contains valuable insights to understand the crime, its causes and its classifications.


  • "Forensic DNA Typing" by John M. Butler

  • "The Forensic Casebook: The Science of Crime Scene Investigation" by Ngaire E. Genge

  • "Forensic Science: A Very Short Introduction" by Jim Fraser

  • "Practical Crime Scene Processing and Investigation" by Ross M. Gardner