Criminology: The Study of Crime and Criminal Behavior

Learn about the study of crime: criminology

Criminology: The Study of Crime and Criminal Behavior

Criminology is a branch of social science that involves the study of crime in an individual and society. Criminological research areas include the incidence and forms of crime as well as its causes and consequences. The research also include social and governmental regulations and reactions to crime.

Criminology is an interdisciplinary field in the behavioral sciences, which draws on the  research conducted by sociologists and psychologists, as well as on writings in law. An important way to analyze data is to look at quantitative methods in criminology. The information and data is studied to better understand behavior to hopefully determine ways to prevent crime in the future.

The study may also refer to the study of victims of crime. There are increasing numbers of undergraduate courses in the subject of criminology and many different career fields to pursue.

What is a criminologist?

A criminologist is basically someone who studies crime. Criminologists often work for law enforcement agencies or departments. They work with historical data and information to analyze the behavior and methods used by criminals. Criminologists attempt to identify patterns, trends and motives to increase the likelihood of apprehending criminals. The term criminologist generally refers to someone who:

  • Does scholarly, scientific and professional study concerning the prevention, control, and treatment of crime and delinquency
  • Performs various measurements of crime and the impact on society
  • Supports the law enforcement community
  • Studies judicial, and correctional systems and the behavior of inmates
  • Studies crime in general
  • Studies criminal behavior, develops profiles and predictive models
  • Studies various types of crime and the trends associated with their occurrence
  • Observes the social, cultural and media reactions to crime

Criminology Resources

American Society of Criminology – An international organization whose members pursue scholarly, scientific, and professional knowledge concerning the measurement, etiology, consequences, prevention, control, and treatment of crime and delinquency.

Criminal Justice USA – The Criminal Justice USA website provides relevant and accurate information on criminal justice careers and criminal justice training. – This is a website that provides online informational resource for individuals interested in pursuing criminology-related education and careers. The site covers topics ranging from what you can do with a degree in the field, links to related resources, and information about this specific field within the job market.

For more legal definitions, visit our Glossary of Legal and Investigation Terms.


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