From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"Legislators and leaders of men, such as Lycurgus, Solon, Mahomet, Napoleon, and so on, were all without exception criminals, from the very fact that, making a new law they transgressed the ancient one, handed down from their ancestors and held sacred by the people, and they did not stop short at bloodshed either, if that bloodshed often of innocent persons fighting bravely in defence of ancient law were of use to their cause." -- Rodion Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment
"One is not criminal for painting the strange tendencies inspired by nature"--Marquis de Sade
A crime is an act that violates a political, religious, or moral command considered important in protecting the interests of the State or the welfare of its citizens or subjects. The word "crime" came from Latin crimen (genitive criminis), from the Latin cernō and Greek κρινω = "I judge". Originally it meant "charge, guilt, accusation." In everyday usage, a crime is understood as any act that violates a law.
In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state or other authority. The term crime does not, in modern criminal law, have any simple and universally accepted definition, though statutory definitions have been provided for certain purposes. The most popular view is that crime is a category created by law; in other words, something is a crime if declared as such by the relevant and applicable law. One proposed definition is that a crime or offence (or criminal offence) is an act harmful not only to some individual but also to a community, society, or the state ("a public wrong"). Such acts are forbidden and punishable by law.
The notion that acts such as murder, rape, and theft are to be prohibited exists worldwide. What precisely is a criminal offence is defined by criminal law of each country. While many have a catalogue of crimes called the criminal code, in some common law countries no such comprehensive statute exists.
The state (government) has the power to severely restrict one's liberty for committing a crime. In modern societies, there are procedures to which investigations and trials must adhere. If found guilty, an offender may be sentenced to a form of reparation such as a community sentence, or, depending on the nature of their offence, to undergo imprisonment, life imprisonment or, in some jurisdictions, execution.
While every crime violates the law, not every violation of the law counts as a crime. Breaches of private law (torts and breaches of contract) are not automatically punished by the state, but can be enforced through civil procedure. The world of crime and criminals is often called "the underworld."
A criminal is a person who is guilty of a crime, notably breaking the law.
- Born criminal
- List of assassins
- List of highwaymen
- List of crime bosses
- Fictional portrayals of psychopaths
- List of criminal enterprises, gangs and syndicates
- Consensual crime
- Crime of passion
- Crime and insanity
- Deviant behavior
- True crime
- Causes and correlates of crime
- Sex differences in crime
- Victimless crime
- Nulla poena sine lege
- The Crimes of Love (1799) by Sade
- Crime and Punishment (1866) by Fyodor Dostoevsky
- Happiness in Crime (1874) by Jules Amédée Barbey d'Aurevilly
- Ornament and Crime (1908) by Adolf Loos