What is Criminology?

Criminology is the study of crime and criminal behavior and is a branch of sociology (the study of human society). Criminology studies human behavior, human interaction, and human organization in relation to illegality. Criminologists study the impacts of crime on society, criminals, and individual victims including their families.

According to Study.com, criminology has many sub-groups that include penology, biocriminology, feminist criminology, and criminalistics. Penology is the study of prisons and prison systems. Kathy Heydasch states how penology analyzes, “society’s opinion of how prisoners are treated and why.” This studies how far a punishment should go due to the crime committed. Biocriminology is the study of the connection between criminal behavior and a person’s genes or hormones–essentially, how crime is or is not connected to biological theories.

Feminist criminology is the study of women and crime. This is where there is a deeper look at gender and how it affects crime. Women are usually the victims of crimes because of their gender and according to Study Aid Essays, women are least likely to be involved in crime-related situations. Criminalistics is the study of crime detection and physical evidence within crimes. Criminalistics is in charge of “organizing crime scenes, helping victims, ensuring justice, and serving the public,” (VWU). This helps officials figure out how a crime was committed and who committed the crime.

The Balance Careers shares four criminological theories that explain criminal behavior in the field of criminology. These include: classical theories, biological theories, psychological theories, and sociological theories. Classical theories are choices individuals make that lead to creating them to have criminal behaviors. Biological theories explain that due to inherited biological traits, criminal behaviors are created. Experiences, usually negative and during childhood, impact an individual’s life negatively, pushing them to commit criminal acts. These are psychological theories. Sociological theories have to do with the people and environment in a society which influences individuals to cause crime. These four criminological theories give reasons not only about the cause of crime but also what create individuals who start and maintain criminal behaviors.

The main goal of criminology is to develop effective ways to prevent crime and criminal behavior. Criminal behavior is created by an individual’s experiences, an individual’s genes, and the society where an individual lives. There are sub-groups where criminologists can have a better understanding of why, who, and how a crime is committed.