Article

Violent Crime

Richard Rosenfeld

in Criminology

ISBN: 9780195396607
Published online December 2009 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195396607-0001
Violent Crime

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Violent crimes are violations of criminal law that involve the intentional use of violence by one person against another. Social scientists do not agree on a single or unified definition of violence, however. Criminologists tend to favor narrow definitions of violence, focusing on physical harm or threats. Many, but not all, criminologists accept the definition provided by an influential National Research Council study, which defined violence as “behaviors by individuals that intentionally threaten, attempt, or inflict physical harm on others” (Reiss and Roth 1993, p. 2; see General Overviews). This definition includes a diverse assortment of behaviors, including homicide, assault, robbery (theft accompanied by force or threat), rape, torture, capital punishment, and boxing. But it excludes many acts that are encompassed by other, equally reasonable definitions. How one chooses to define violence prefigures the types of behavior that are counted as violence, the levels of violence observed across place and time, the theories that make sense of violent behavior, and the social response to violence.

Article.  4635 words. 

Subjects: Criminology and Criminal Justice ; Criminal Justice ; Criminology

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