Crime is an unlawful activity that is committed by a person against the interests of the public or society. The person who commits the crime is liable to punishment by law according to the nature of the crime committed.
Hence, crime is an unlawful act that is harmful to society and also to its inhabitants.
Section 11, 44, 189, 190, and 385 of the PPC 1860 deal with crime.
What does crime actually mean?
In a Literal sense, Crime means all the activities that involve the breaking of the law.
In a Legal sense, Crime means all the offenses which are punishable by the law.
Crime is generally defined as
“An action or omission which constitutes/represents an offense and is punishable by law.”
According to Wikipedia
“A crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state or other authority.”
According to Sir James Stephen
“Crime is an act which is prohibited by the Law of Land as well as by the Moral Values of the society.”
Types of Crime
Crime is of various types. Crime is divided into several major categories by Criminologists. They categorize the crime into the following categories.
1. Crimes against Property
Crimes against property involve only the theft of property and there is no physical harm by the criminals.
These crimes include Burglary, Larceny, Auto Theft, and Arson.
2. Crimes against morality
Crimes against morality are crimes that are considered immoral in society. These are also known as Victimless crimes. The reason they are called victimless is that there is no complaint or victim of the offense.
These crimes include prostitution, illegal drug use, and gambling.
3. Crimes against persons
Crimes against persons are those crimes in which one person commits the crime and the other is the victim.
These are also known as Personal crimes.
These crimes include aggravated assault, rape, murder, and robbery.
4. White-Collar crimes
White-collar crimes are crimes that are committed by people who enjoy a high social status in society. They commit crimes in the ambiance of their occupation.
Examples of these crimes are embezzling (which is stealing money from one’s employer), tax evasion, and other violations of income tax laws.
5. Organized crimes
Organized crimes are those crimes that are committed by some structured groups. These structured groups are somehow involved in the marketing and trading of illegal goods and services.
Organized groups are also known as Mafia.
These crimes include illegal drug sales, illegal gambling, weapons smuggling, or money laundering.
6. Violent crimes
Violent crimes are one of the most serious types of crime. They grab our intention towards sexual assault, rape, and homicide.
Homicide crime contains the risk of taking one’s life which makes it the most crucial and harmful.
Domestic abuse, child abuse, and sexual harassment fall in the category of Violent crimes.
7. Hate crimes
Hate crimes are those crimes that are based on personal reasons. These may occur due to the jealousy of someone for the other person.
These often describe an incident against someone due to his identity.
8. Ciber crimes
With the advancement in technology, the type of committing crimes has also been changed to some extent. These crimes are now called Ciber Crimes
Ciber crimes are those crimes that are mostly done while remaining online.
These crimes include hacking someone’s data from his/her mobile, laptop, or computer.
Elements of Crime
The essential elements of a crime are the following ;
1. Human Being
It is the first essential element of the crime that:
- The act of offense must be committed by a human being
- The person be fit for the award of punishment
2. Mens Rea (Intention)
The term Mens Rea means that the crime must be committed with a guilty mind.
The intention is the basic element for any sort of action.
The Cardinal Principle of the Mens Rea is that an action cannot become an offense if the mind of the person who commits the act is innocent. But if it is proved that the act is committed by the person with Mens Rea, he will be liable to the punishment.
3. Actus Rea (Physical Involvement)
The term Actus Rea means that the person must be physically involved in the act committed.
Physical involvement is necessary for committing any illegal act that the law wants to prevent.
For Example: Purchasing a Gun from the shop and moving towards the target is an example of Actus Rea.
The last factor but not the least is that the victim must be injured or hurt as a result of the action. The reason is that the act cannot be considered a crime until there is no person who is injured.
According to Section 44 (PPC): The word “injury” denotes any harm, illegally caused to any person, in body, mind, reputation, or property.
Stages of Crime
The various stages of the crime are discussed below;
Having an intention is the first stage of crime where the offender thinks to commit a crime.
At this level, the person makes plans for the commission of a crime.
Having an intention to commit a crime is not a crime itself.
This is the stage where an offender makes preparation to act upon his plans.
For example, a person purchases a gun to kill another person.
This is the stage where one takes some practical steps for the commission of the crime.
For example, the offender moves towards his target to kill him.
4. Actual Commission of the Act
The last stage of the crime is the actual commission of the crime. At this stage, the man actually commits the murder and now he is a criminal and is liable to punishment.
It is concluded that all sorts of crimes are committed in four stages. These steps are Having an intention to commit a crime, Preparation to commit a crime, Attempt, and Actual commission of the crime.
A crime consists of the following
Human being + Mens Rea + Actus Rea + Injury