A crime is defined as “an act committed in violation of a law forbidding
it and for which a variety of punishments may beimposed.” Crimes are
classified into two basic groups; “mala in se” which are crimes that are evil in
themselves, and “mala prohibitita” which are crimes that are only crimes because
society at the time deems them wrong.
In these days crime is more easy perceived by society. Surveys of
public opinion in the United States show that more and more people believe that
crime is increasing. People feel less safe in their environment and have thus
taken measures to protect themselves.
But is this view accurate? Most of the crime rates from 1973 to 1992
have risen greatly. In 1973 there was a murder every 27 minutes. Now there is a
murder every 22 minutes. The astounding fact is in 1973 there was a violent
crime every 6 minutes but now it has increased to a murder every 16 seconds.
Crime per thousand from between 1983 and 1992 rose 9.4 percent but from 1991 to
1992 it went down 4 percent. In recent years crime has been decreasing.
Property crime, murder, robbery, and burglary have all decreased at least three
percent in recent years but that is not much. There is one exception; rape
which has gone up 3 percent. Violent crime has risen 40.9 since 1983 while in
recent years it has only gone down a tenth of a percent. This may be one of the
reasons people feel less safe. People aren’t afraid of larceny or property
crimes. They are afraid of violent crimes, which is why is recent years they
Many people believe the problem is in the trial system itself. Not
enough people are convicted. In our trial system where you are innocent until
proven guilty and to be proved guilty it must be done beyond reasonable doubt or
preponderance of evidence in civil cases. After it has finally been very well
proven a judge or jury must unanimously decide the criminal is innocent or
guilty or it is declared a hung jury. It also is too easy to get a shorter
sentence on a plea bargain. For instance a person accused of armed robbery, an
offence that on average a person would get thirty years for; the criminal will
often plead guilty to a lesser offence such as carrying a concealed weapon.
Carrying a concealed weapon would often give a six year sentence but the
criminal often gets off in half that time. So you see how the sentencing just
went from thirty years to three years.
Another possible cause is our prison system. Prisons breed crime
themselves. If a burglar is sent to prison he must contend with the violence
inside it by being rough himself. This means a burglar who enters a prison may
emerge a murderer. Prisons are often used to rehabilitate and made more
pleasant as so to not create the cultures that develop more criminals in them.
This often makes prison seem not so bad to criminals. That solution is worse
then the problem.
Is the United States crime problem as bad as people think it is? The
crime rate in the United States isn’t even in the top fifteen. The problem in
the United States is the rise in violent crime. The United States ranks third
in the world in robbery and violent theft. There is a rise in juvenile crime
too. A possible reason for this is the breakdown of the family. In families
where both parents work the kids are left alone or in a day care.The parents
are around less for support. This makes it that much easier for the kids to
There are many possible ways to fix the United States crime problem and
the rise in violent crime. One solution is to use the death sentence. One less
murder alive is one less murderer on the streets. Another answer is to prohibit
handguns. The second amendment may give the right to bear arms but it isn’t
clear whether this right should be granted to individual citizens or an official
state militia. The Supreme Court has never ruled on this issue. Without
handguns nobody would be afraid to be held up. It would be much safer to go out
at night. When crime makes people live their lives differently and possibly in
fear something must be done.