Criminal Behavior and the Law Essay

Heydi Cohens American InterContinental University CRJS105 November 14, 2010 Abstract This document will include the distinction amongst criminologists, criminalists and forensic psychologists as well as their individual areas of study. There will also be examples discussed of when each would be utilized. This document will also discuss any misconceptions that may occur in regards to these fields along with examples of the different misconceptions. Society has labeled the different crimes that occur and they are white-collar and blue-collar crimes and there will be a discussion about the difference between these two different crimes.

There will also be a discussion on the various crimes that are calculated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation also known as the FBI in the Uniform Crime Reports. The media typically concentrates on either the white-collar or blue-collar crimes more heavily than the other and that will also be discussed along with an example of what type of crime is placed in these two categories. There are differences between an index-one crime and an index-two crime as calculated in the Uniform Crime Reports of the FBI and these differences will be addressed in this document.

Finally, there will also be a discussion on which index-one crimes would be categorized as violent crimes as well as what property crimes would be classified as. Introduction Crime is considered to be one of the most appealing topics in popular culture and because of that the public obtains a distorted version of crime. The public unfortunately lacks some knowledge when it comes to the whole overall subject of criminology, the difference amongst blue-collar and white-collar crime as well as the broad awareness of the frequency of crime occurring in the United States.

The public needs to understand the different specifics of law enforcement as well as be able to differentiate between what is real and what is not. According to (Schmalleger, 2009), typically a dictionaries definition for a criminologist would be an individual who studies crime, the individuals who are committing these crimes known as the criminal as well their criminal behaviors. Criminologists can also be defined as an individual who is skilled in the areas of criminology.

Then there is a criminalist and that is an individual who specializes in collecting as well as examining the physical evidence of the crime. These individuals vary from investigators, fingerprint experts, the individuals who photograph the crime scene and ballistics experts. Finally, the other field would be a forensic psychologist and according to (Mauro, 2010), this field is the relations of the practice and/or studies of psychology and law. Forensic psychologists evaluate as well as test patients that have been imprisoned or are being placed on trial.

These three fields differentiate from each other in a few different ways. As for a criminologist they are similar to an anthropologist which is the study of people, cultures as well as the behaviors. Criminologists focus more on the social behavior as well as how and why individuals move away from the norms of these behaviors. Criminologists create profiles of precise types of crime as well as criminals during the examination of crime statistics. Their work aide’s law enforcement in averting crime and/or quickly capture the suspect(s) after a crime has occurred.

Criminologists are sometimes compared in junction with criminalists but according to (Brestovansky, 2009); criminologists are involved with psychology, sociology and individuals social behavior. Criminologists are more involved in the study of behaviors amongst certain demographics as well as analyze why they happened or change. Criminologists may have to question a suspect to find out if they fit a crime profile. Criminologists may also be present during an autopsy or the scene of a crime so they can utilize the information collected about the victim’s death so they can develop a profile concerning the potential suspect(s).

As stated earlier criminalists are the individuals who are present at a crime scene and responsible for analyzing the evidence and according to (Consador, 2009), criminalists utilize science to interpret the crime scene into additional depth. Criminalists are responsible for collecting, identifying as well as analyzing any physical evidence that is relevant to the investigation. They also perform tests on the items as well as substances found such as weapons, hair follicles, fiber and more. These individuals can also be included in the trial as an expert witness.

Criminalists are also referred to as forensic scientists, forensic science technicians, evidence technicians, crime scene investigators or latent fingerprint examiners. Forensic Psychologists perform various duties such as consult with lawyers, analyze as well as treat the offenders who suffer from mental illness, improve interrogation methods as well as design correctional facilities. These individuals also provide counseling sessions for the victims in family court, civil courts as well as criminal court cases.

Forensic Psychologists are responsible for conducting research and can also place a determination on the mental status of the defendants that have to go to trial as well as help with selecting the jury and they can also eliminate any juror that may have any psychological biases that may sway their decision on the case. So, overall the distinction amongst criminologist, criminalist and forensic psychologists would be a criminologist focuses on criminal behavior which includes the cause, nature as well as the control of that behavior.

A forensic psychologist uses psychology in the justice system and finally a criminalist focuses more on the evidence retrieved from a crime scene. A criminalist can be used in a drug lab where there are illegal drugs being produced so they can analyze what the police officers have located. Because it is very hard, cost a lot of money and takes a lot of time to follow a group over a period of time according to (Siegel, 2008), an alternate route would be to take a whole group from the past then gather information from their education, family, police as well as hospital records.

So in a situation like this a criminologist may be used to gather that groups police and court records over the scheduled time frame so they can determine which one of the individuals have developed criminal records or if school accomplishments predict adult criminality. As for forensic psychologists they utilize their experience in many different ways. These individuals may be needed to treat a mentally ill offender, have a consultation with attorneys or even analyze an individual’s mind as well as their intent for committing the crime.

According to (All About Psychology, 2004), they are also used in lawsuits and insurance claims when there is emotional suffering, they can also determine the capability of an aged or sick individual when it comes to decision making. According to (Leighton, P. PhD, n. d. ), the most frequent misconception about criminologists would be that all they do is train individuals to become FBI officers as well as law enforcement officers. Criminologists look at the workings of the criminal justice system, including getting more insight into why people are violent, and ask questions about the justice part of criminal justice” (Leighton, P. PhD, n. d. ). There are different misconceptions about criminalists, but the most common misconception would be individuals watching shows such as CSI that have criminalists perform interviews as well as arresting individuals. In reality criminalists don’t do that, according to (Howard, n. d. , in certain states criminalists are only allowed to use the evidence that is retrieved by the officers and in other states there are certain teams that process the crime scene. The individual who retrieves the evidence cannot be the one that analyzes it and every piece of evidence has to be sent to its own facility. Now, on shows such as CSI the DNA result is determined at the scene of the crime, but in real life it can take years to get a DNA match. As for forensic psychology one misconception would be individuals who think that forensic psychology is parallel with forensic science, but that is inaccurate.

Forensic science is based on hard science and focuses on the laboratory investigation of crime scene evidence which would include DNA collecting as well as analyzing the evidence, locating fingerprints and examining the firearms and the bullets. As for forensic psychology according to (“Forensic Psychology-Myths and Truths”, n. d. ), is focused on applying science and the profession of psychology to different questions as well as issues that is related to the law as well as the legal system.

So, forensic psychologists are specialized in applying psychological facts to different situations in legal terms and it is not just limited to criminal law but also involves civil and family law, corrections and investigations. Financial, economic or even corporate crime tends to involve fraud as well as theft and this form of crime is usually carried out by urbane means. The reason for these crimes usually stems from economic loss of business, investors as well as individuals who may have been affected by the act of the executive.

So, with this said, white-collar crime is an extensive term that covers different types of crimes that involve fraud as well as illegal financial transactions. According to (“White-Collar Crime, n. d. ), some of these types of crime include bank fraud, corruption, blackmail and stealing. As for blue-collar crimes these are crimes that had no connection with the individuals occupation, some of these crimes include, robbery, murder and burglary and according to (“White-Collar Crime, n. d. ), these are crimes committed by street criminals.

So, the difference between white-collar and blue-collar crime is blue-collar crime is crime that is committed by someone who is from the lower social class and white-collar crimes are committed by individuals that are in a higher social class. The United States Department of Justice manages two informational programs that measures the amount as well as the impact of crimes in the nation and they are the Uniform Crime Reporting Program also known as UCR as well as the National Crime Victimization Survey also known as NCVS.

Each of those two programs produce important information regarding the aspects of the countries crime situation. As for the FBI’s UCR program, they gather data on crimes that are provided to the law enforcement authorities such as murder, non-negligent manslaughter, forceful rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft as well as arson.

According to (“Appendix IV-The Nation’s Two Crime Measures, 2004), the Uniform Crime Reporting Program gathers information from monthly law enforcement reports as well as individual crime incident records provided straight to the FBI and then report it to the FBI. As stated earlier, blue-collar crimes are crimes committed by individuals of lower class status and they are crimes that cause harm on an individual directly or the property of other individuals. These crimes are centered more on in popular culture through the media.

Whenever you turn on the news there are always crimes being committed that harm another person or their property. According to (Schmalleger, 2009), Americans seem to be satisfied because Americas crime rate has been decreasing but an examination of international crime rates have revealed that the U. S. still remains a much more violent place then the rest of the industrial nation. Like stated earlier we don’t usually see a lot of white-collar crimes in newspapers or on the news because the media rather cover more interesting topics which would include violent crimes so their ratings stay high.

Another reason why blue-collar crime is the most heavily focused type of crime in the media is because white-collar crimes are crimes committed by high class, very well known and rich individuals who tend to keep their crimes out of the media as well as quiet enough that the authorities don’t even get any information, therefore it does not leak out and the media knows nothing. According to (Nucer, 1995), white-collar crime obtains a minute amount of media coverage for the simple reason that the public are advised that there is no reason for us to read or hear about these forms of crime.

Unfortunately, we as the public have no choice in what we hear or read because what is important is what sells and that would be a murder versus an embezzlement charge. Here are a few examples of blue-collar and white-collar crimes, one of the most gruesome and disturbing blue-collar crimes would be the JonBenet Ramsey murder. According to (Bardsley & Bellamy, n. d. ), the first pictures that were broadcasted of JonBenet Ramsey were showing a little girl wearing a lot of make-up as well as very flashy dresses while she was walking across the stage.

The media had been describing JonBenet Ramsey as a “decorated child, a sexualized child beauty queen”. In, 1996 this little girl was discovered dead in her basement. This crime is still unsolved and the media as well as authorities believe that her parents were the ones responsible for her death. Here is an example of a white-collar crime; there was a central Texan man who was detained because he embezzled $170,000 from a local development business. According to (Gately, 2010), this man was arrested on Monday morning and he was one of six partners of a firm named Starcrest Development.

This individual was writing checks that were dated back to March of 2002 and in some cases there were missing documents as well as invoices. Some of these checks were even written for services that weren’t required, needed or even done. Between these two types of crimes, I believe they are both important enough to be placed in the media and both focused on just as much as the other. The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program has been gathering different offenses from different states, individual agencies and/or right from state programs.

These statistics are collected and referred to as index crimes; there are index-one and index-two crimes. Index-one crimes are crimes that hurt other individuals or their property and according to (Uniform Crime Reporting, n. d. ), index-two crimes are categorized into 21 crimes that include crimes from simple assault to runaways. The difference between these two types of index crimes is that part-one crimes are more serious felonies versus part-two crimes are less serious felonies and are also considered to be misdemeanors.

According to (Schmalleger, 2009), part one offenses are divided into two different categories such as violent personal crimes which include murder, rape, robbery as well as aggravated assault, then you have the property crime which include burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft and arson. Conclusion All crime should be taken seriously whether it is blue-collar or white-collar, crime is crime. Americans are left in the dark when it comes to certain crimes such as white-collar crimes because unfortunately it doesn’t sell but blue-collar crime does and that is why you see more of that in the newspapers and on TV.

Being able to differentiate between different criminal justice terms is useful knowledge in order to be successful in the criminal field. References Mauro, M. Psy. D. (2010). What is Forensic Psychology. Retrieved from http://www. psychologytoday. com/blog/take-all-prisoners/201006/what-is-forensic-psychology. Brestovansky, L. (2009). Criminologist Job Description. Retrieved from http://www. ehow. com/about_5414649_criminologist-job-description. html. Schmalleger, F. (2009).

Criminology Today: An Integrative Introduction (5th ed. ). Prentice Hall. Consador, K. (2009). Criminalist Job Description. Retrieved from http://www. ehow. com/about_5412299_criminalist-job-description. html. Siegel, J. L. (2008). Criminology. (10th ed. ). Cengage Learning, Inc. All About Psychology. (2004). (2). Retrieved from http://www. psychology. sdsu. edu/advising/Newsletters/April%202004,%20Issue2_newversion. pdf. Leighton, P. PhD. (n. d. ). Criminal Justice Interviewee.