Have you ever been fascinated by a crime story and wondered: How could somebody commit such an unspeakable act or how could someone who seemingly has everything throw it all away doing something illegal? Does a person’s environment increase the likelihood of becoming a criminal or is criminality an inherited trait? The course, Criminology, will explore the reasons why people commit crimes. To better understand these reasons, we must first examine why laws were created and how they have evolved over time in response to society’s needs. There are three main types of crime and the reasons why people commit each individual type are as different as the types of crimes themselves. We will also look at the prevalence of crime by examining research conducted on crime trends. The main focus of the course will be the theoretical perspectives of criminal behavior, including biological, psychological and sociological theories. We will delve into the minds of serial killers, thieves, drug dealers, and even corporate criminals as we examine notable criminals. While the course will focus on all types of crime, including homicide and domestic violence crimes, the connection between drugs and crime will also be explored. We will discuss the indicators of dangerousness in predicting criminal behavior, as well as the competency standards for involvement in the legal process. Finally, we will explore the treatment of criminals by the correctional system. If we understand why people commit crimes, then we can move closer to determining what can be done to prevent crime and how we should deal with criminals once they have committed an offense. Ultimately, you will be asked to design a policy statement for crime prevention and treatment programs for criminals based on the theoretical assumptions that you support.
Disclaimer: Given the contents of the course, some of the subject matter is violent and gruesome in nature. This may not be the course for you if your sensibilities are easily upset.