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The History Of Crime And Its Evolution

1758 words - 8 pages

The History of Crime and Its Evolution

Alan Fetter
Seminar On Criminology
CRJ 502
18 April 2014


Introduction
Usually, crime threatens the security, economy and other interests of a country through actions or omissions that disregard the rule of law. Criminal activity has been evolving in the past several decades and taking on a progressively transnational nature. For instance, open borders and development of the Internet has increased the threat of crime from within American borders and beyond. Though common crime has not received much media and Congress attention like terrorism and other national concerns, criminals have not relented on their illegal activities. Violence or the threat of violence is a fundamental factor of crime. Several policies have changed the perspective and influence of crime. This essay focuses on the history of crime and its evolution.
Overview of criminal activity
The factors that constitute criminal activity vary to some extent depending on the society and the different moments in the society’s history (Emsley, 1996). Crime has a long history in the United States. Though the history dates back to the 19th century, crime thrived during the time of Prohibition, attracting the attention of policymakers. Throughout the 20th century, different policies were enacted to tackle crime networks and several efforts made to investigate and control crime. Notably, a series of Congressional hearings were conducted between 1967 and 1968 to enhance the federal government’s role in tackling crime. Between 1692 and 1693, the Salem witch trial occurred in Massachusetts, and in excess of 200 individuals were charged for practicing witchcraft (Emsley, 1996). Twenty individuals were executed but the state later admitted the charges to be a mistake and compensated the families of the victims. Nonetheless, the trials have been indistinguishable from injustice and paranoia.
Evolution of crime
Crime evolved drastically from the trials, resulting in the emergence of major crimes and famous criminologists. Cesare Beccaria lived in the 18th century and believed that crime should be prevented. Consequently, he called for reforms in the criminal justice system. Enrico Ferri was more interested in the economic and social factors that led to crime. Ferri believed that modification of the social and economic factors that led to crime would reduce and prevent crime in the long term.
On his part, Robert Hare was a famous criminologist who articulated that it was not easy to identify criminals because some are psychopaths. Hare developed a checklist to assist psychologists in identifying psychopaths. Criminal behavior has continued evolving over the years, with crime in the United States taking different forms. However, it is organized crime that surfaced with the highest profile and stimulated a series of acts by Congress to help tackle the threat. The history of organized crime is significantly...

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