Meaning and Definition of Crime

The word “Crime” was originally taken from the Latin term “Crimen” which means “to charge”.

Literal Meaning of Crime

According to the Oxford dictionary crime is defined as “An action or omission which constitutes an offense and is punishable by law”.

Therefore in its simplest form, crime is a punishable act that breaks the rules of the
law. However, the concept of crime is surrounded by constantly changing ideas and perceptions of what constitutes criminal behavior.

Definitions of Crime by different scholars

Different scholars have defined crime in different ways. There are a few definitions of crime “Crime is an act committed or omitted in violation of Public Law forbidding or
commanding it”.

William Blackstone

“Crime is an act forbidden by law and revolting to the moral sentiments of the society”.

James Stephen

“Crimes are wrongs whose sanction is punitive and in no way remissible by a private
person, but is remissible by the Crown alone if remissible at all”.

“The term crime technically means a form of anti-social behavior that has violated public sentiment to such an extent as to be forbidden by statute”.

Barners and Teeters

In nutshell, in plain words, Crime is actually a violation of laws that are made by the
state. Laws are made to control the behavior of people in a society.

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