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Crime refers to acts forbidden by and subject to sanctions from the state. In modern societies, the term refers to violations of the criminal law that are punishable by the criminal justice system. The concept predates sociology and has been much studied since the discipline's beginnings. Sociological theories of crime can be divided into those that seek to explain why some individuals commit crimes and those that try to understand crime's place in the larger society.

Accounting for Criminal Behavior

Some theories argue that criminals are different from law-abiding people. The nature of this difference depends on the dominant scientific models of the time. During criminology's long history, theorists from a great variety of disciplines have speculated that criminals have distinctive racial characteristics, body types, personality types, ...

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