CRIME, TRANSNATIONAL CRIME, AND JUSTICE
Why measure crime
and compare crime data ?
What do comparative criminoligists study?
What do comparative criminal justice
Limits of Comparative
Variation in crime rates (crime as a social
phenomenon) must first be established
before behavioral explanations (crime as
social behavior) are offered.
Limitations of International
Underreporting: social and political reasons
Differences in collection and recording
practices: inconsistencies and politics
Citizens fail to report many crimes because of:
Accessibility to police
Limited telephone access
Fear of reprisals; fear or dislike of police (mistrust)
Wish to protect the perpetrator
Not serious/no loss
Different social norms in different countries, i.e., rape in U.S.
Countries fail to report crime because:
Some countries lack the technical resources and knowledge
necessary to report crime data.
Some countries are concerned that crime data will negatively affect
their nation’s world standing or tourist trade.
Some countries are concerned that crime data will indicate a
weakness in their political philosophy.
Some countries are too involved in civil war to keep track of crime
Determining what is a crime versus what is legal
Interpol and the United Nation’s request countries report to
report crime according to their categories, however, this
creates confusion and controversy.
Laws and legal codes in some cases are so different that it is
difficult to make comparisons, i.e., rape – Italy and Croatia.
In other words, comparing a specific crime in two countries
may not actually compare similar acts.
Differences in Collection
and Recording Practices
Styles of different interviewers and recorders may vary considerably.
Inconsistency in crime data collection and recording by police
departments (both within and across countries).
Countries in developing countries lack manpower and technology to
efficiently collect, record, and report crime data.
Many countries do not have a unified criminal justice system, thus
they may not be able to collect crime statistics on a national level.
Some countries count crimes when they are reported to police, other
countries count crimes when police forward them for prosecution.
Data Sets for Crime Comparison
Council of Europe surveys
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime surveys
United Nations Survey on Crime Trends and Operations of
Criminal Justice Systems
International Crime Victim Survey
Crime survey results cannot be used to rank
countries, they are appropriate for assessing
the direction of change in crime.
In other words, they are useful
for identifying trends over time.
Does the availability of guns influence a
country’s violent crime rate?
Why would homicide rates be a reliable
indicator of that crime across countries
whereas many crimes are not comparable
It is difficult to define transnational crime,
however, it normally includes the reliance of
several individuals and groups in many
countries working together to complete the
crime. It often has an organized component,
i.e., transnational organized crime.
Transnational Crime Types
Aircraft Hijacking Money Laundering
Computer crime/cyber crime Sea Piracy
Corruption and Bribery of Theft of art and artifacts
public and political officials
Trafficking in persons
Trafficking in human body
Drug Trafficking parts
Arms Trafficking Terrorism
Characteristics of Terrorism
Distinction between domestic and international terrorism,
i.e., Oklahoma City – September 11, 2001.
Political in aims and motives.
Exploitation of fear (terror) through violence or the threat
Psychological effects (fear through intimidation).
Perpetrated by a subnational group or non-state entity.
Characteristics of Terrorism
Designed to create power when there is no power.
To terrorists, there are no rules of warfare or codes of
The goal is that through the publicity generated from
their violence, terrorists will have the leverage to effect
Perpetrated by some organizational entity with an
identifiable chain of command capable of conspiratorial
Nationalist: seek to form a separate state for their
own national group, i.e., freedom fighters.
Examples include: IRA, Basque Fatherland and
Liberty, and Kurdistan Worker’s Party.
Religious: use violence to further what they
believe are divinely commanded purposes – a
spiritual rather than a military objective. Examples
include: Al-Qaeda, HAMAS, Hezbollah, Aum
State-Sponsored: Used by radical states as foreign
policy – provide a cost effective way to wage war
covertly through terrorists, i.e., U.S. embassy – Tehran
(1979). States considered to sponsor terrorism include:
Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, Syria.
Left-Wing, Right-Wing, and Anarchist: Left-
wing groups seek to destroy capitalism and replace it
with a communist social regime. Right-wing groups
seek to create fascists states. Anarchists are
revolutionaries who seek to overthrow all forms of
government. Examples include: Left-Wing (Red
Brigade, Baader-Meinhof Gang, Japanese Red Army);
Right-Wing (Neo-Nazis, skinheads, white supremacists);
and, Anarchist (contemporary anti-globalization groups).
Why should we care about
What is the general response toward
transnational crime - both in the U.S.
and in other countries?