Types of Crime

black Image of scales on white background with the words, "calibrate the scales" overlaid. As with any set of scales, the scales of justice must, from time to time, be recalibrated. Total balance is never achieved, but all in the criminal justice and legal systems must strive for it as much as possible.

Crime. What is it?

Depending on whom you ask, you may get a different answer, maybe vastly different. For instance, if you ask a judge what is a crime, you are likely to get something along the lines of the proper definition, namely that a crime is “an action or omission that constitutes an offense that may be prosecuted by the state and is punishable by law.” –

For instance, if you ask a judge what is a crime, you are likely to get something along the lines of the proper definition, namely that a crime is “an action or omission that constitutes an offense that may be prosecuted by the state and is punishable by law.” – Google Dictionary “Crime”

If you ask a gangbanger, you will likely hear something to the effect of “The Po-Po. That’s a crime.”

Ask a factory worker and you may hear how much his wife nags on him…that’s a crime.

The point is, most people know what crime is but when asked, they will usually start on about what they personally feel is criminal to them. This shows us that crime is always personal. Everyone at some point feels that they have been the brunt of a criminal act, even if it is something as slight as being forced to work overtime on their one day off.

What Are the Types of Crime?

However, if we were to ask people what are the different types of crime, even those in academics, in criminal justice, and in law will give slightly different answers. For instance, the Rush-Henrietta Central School District in Henrietta, NY states that there are six types of crime:

  1. Violent
  2. Property
  3. White Collar
  4. High-Tech
  5. Public Order
  6. Organized

The educational website Boundless lists six types as well, but slightly different:

  1. Violent
  2. Sex
  3. Property
  4. Hate
  5. Organized
  6. Virtual

And Wikipedia, under the heading Category: Types of Crime lists 45 pages under 19 subcategories.

Why so much confusion for a topic so fundamental in modern society?

The reason is very simple; as simple in fact, as the expression “type.” The term “type” refers to a way of categorizing something. Thus, the personal preferences in making divisions can play a role in how the same information is interpreted by different people. Thus, all of the above are correct though not in harmony.

At CriminalJusticeLaw.org, we prefer to simplify as much as possible. Hence, we tend to agree with the division provided by LegalMatch.com as well as an alternate typing. Let’s begin with the alternate.

Types of Crime – Answer Number One

One of the most common ways to categorize crime types is to list them as…

  • Felonies
  • Misdemeanors
  • Violations

This is a pretty reasonable division because it takes into account type of crime by severity. Most jurisdictions have these divisions or some variation. For instance, municipal governments may not have felonies on their books and violations may be referred to as codes or citations or some other odd local term. Most states have felonies and misdemeanor crimes. Yet, this division fails to fully acknowledge the distinctions of crime most useful to students and researchers of crime and justice. So in developing this section of the website, we are going to use both the above and the following.

Types of Crime – Answer Number Two

LegalMatch lists the types of crime in perhaps the best possible way. In fact, this appears to be the simplest way to categorize all crimes without being too general. We will largely rely on this division throughout this website. The four types of crime are:

  1. Personal
  2. Property
  3. Inchoate
  4. Statutory

Personal Crime

Personal crimes are those committed against “the person.” In other words, when a person has been personally (physically or emotionally) and directly harmed by the criminal act of another, it is a personal crime. Personal crimes include such acts as assault, kidnapping, homicide, rape, false imprisonment, and more. Anything considered a violent, sexual, or hate crime would fall into this category.

Property Crime

Property crimes involve the property of another. Although property crimes do cause some level of emotional distress, this is an indirect effect of the criminal act. Property crimes include such acts as arson, theft (larceny), burglary, forgery, embezzlement, fraud, and more.

Inchoate Crime

The term inchoate literally means incomplete. This is a type of crime that includes conspiracies, attempts, and solicitations. For instance, a person who tries to hire a hit-man commits an inchoate crime whether the act is carried out or not. The RICO Act is an inchoate crime, though it may incorporate and associated charges may include property and personal crimes.

Statutory Crime

Any criminal act which is made such by statute and does not fit the above types/categories may be said to be a statutory crime. These are often called victimless crimes or crimes against the state because there is no clear victim. In addition, as with inchoate crimes, these may include or incorporate elements of property and/or personal crimes. Some examples are DWI, DUI, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, drug possession, and smuggling.

Does it Matter How Crime is Categorized…Typed?

Yes and no. In general conversation, knowing what type of crime is discussed may not matter but when doing research, it is helpful to have a consistent way to discuss crime. Putting crimes into categories makes it easier to study and develop policies to combat crime.

And it makes dividing the pages of a website easier.

In these pages, we are going to discuss every crime listed as such worldwide. How many criminal offenses will be included? Following is a list of criminal charges in the United States we will be including. We should note that this list is not comprehensive. If anyone notices a crime which is missing, please let us know using the form at the bottom of this page. We will also be gathering information on crimes worldwide with the goal of eventually listing every named/codified criminal act globally. Big project?

Following is a list of criminal charges in the United States we will be including. We should note that this list is not comprehensive. If anyone notices a crime which is missing, please let us know using the form at the bottom of this page. We will also be gathering information on crimes worldwide with the goal of eventually listing every named/codified criminal act globally.

Big project?

Sure is. So, if anyone would like to help out, let us know using the same form at the bottom of the page. Our mission is to build the most comprehensive criminal justice and law website for students on the web. This section listing crime is only a small part of that, but as the criminal justice junkies we are, we think it will be worthwhile.

List of Crimes we will be adding pages for as soon as possible.

  1. Adultery‎
  2. Arms trafficking
  3. Arson
  4. Assault
  5. Attempt
  6. Battery
  7. Blackmail
  8. Bribery
  9. Burglary‎
  10. Child abuse‎
  11. Child endangerment
  12. Civil disobedience‎
  13. Conspiracy
  14. Contract killing
  15. Contributing to the delinquency of a minor
  16. Counterfeiting
  17. Crimes against humanity‎
  18. Cruelty to animals
  19. Cultivation
  20. Cyberbullying
  21. Cyberstalking
  22. Defamation
  23. Desertion
  24. Distribution of a controlled substance
  25. Drinking in public
  26. Drive-by shooting
  27. Drug manufacturing
  28. Drug possession
  29. Drug trafficking
  30. DWI/DUI
  31. Entrapment
  32. Espionage‎
  33. False imprisonment
  34. Femicide
  35. Forgery
  36. Fraud
  37. Hate crime
  38. Hijacking
  39. Homicide
  40. Human rights abuses‎
  41. Human trafficking
  42. Identity theft
  43. Illegal immigration
  44. Impersonator
  45. Insider trading
  46. Intent (to commit)
  47. Intent to distribute
  48. Involuntary manslaughter
  49. Jaywalking
  50. Kidnapping
  51. Larceny (theft)
  52. Loitering
  53. Manslaughter‎
  54. Money laundering
  55. Murder
  56. Mutiny
  57. Necrophilia
  58. Negligent homicide
  59. Pedophilia
  60. Perjury
  61. Piracy‎
  62. Poaching
  63. Ponzi scheme
  64. Possession of a controlled substance
  65. Possession of paraphernalia
  66. Possession of child pornography
  67. Production of child pornography
  68. Prostitution‎ (solicitation)
  69. Public intoxication
  70. Rape‎
  71. Receiving stolen property
  72. Rioting
  73. Robbery‎
  74. School shooting
  75. Sexual abuse
  76. Sexual assault
  77. Sexual harassment
  78. Sexual violence
  79. Shoplifting
  80. Simony
  81. Smuggling
  82. Solicitation (prostitution)
  83. Statutory rape
  84. Terrorism‎
  85. Theft (larceny)
  86. Torture‎
  87. Treason
  88. Usury
  89. Vandalism
  90. Vehicular homicide
  91. Violent crime
  92. War crimes‎
  93. White-collar crime

Again, if you would like to help with this project or have any suggestions, we would love to hear from you. Please complete the following simple form…

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