Handbook on Crime

Handbook on Crime

Handbook on Crime

Handbook on Crime


The Handbook on Crimeis a comprehensive edited volume that contains analysis and explanation of the nature, extent, patterns and causes of over 40 different forms of crime, in each case drawing attention to key contemporary debates and social and criminal justice responses to them. It also challenges many popular and official conceptions of crime.

This book is one of the few criminological texts that takes as its starting point a range of specific types of criminal activity. It addresses not only 'conventional' offences such as shoplifting, burglary, robbery, and vehicle crime, but many other forms of criminal behaviour - often an amalgamation of different legal offences - which attract contemporary media, public and policy concern. These include crimes committed not only by individuals, but by organised criminal groups, corporations and governments. There are chapters on, for example, gang violence, hate crime, elder abuse, animal abuse, cyber crime, identity theft, money-laundering, eco crimes, drug trafficking, human trafficking, genocide, and global terrorism. Many of these topics receive surprisingly little attention in the criminological literature.

The Handbook on Crimewill be a unique text of lasting value to students, researchers, academics, practitioners, policy makers, journalists and all others involved in understanding and preventing criminal behaviour.


Fiona Brookman, Mike Maguire, Harriet Pierpoint and Trevor Bennett

Criminologists publish surprisingly little about specific forms of criminal activity: when, how, by whom and in what contexts they are carried out, whether and why they are increasing or declining, what particular issues they raise for the police or criminal justice agencies, and so on. Despite a major expansion in criminology in universities since the mid-1990s, the empirical research base remains quite thin in relation even to some of the most common crimes, including those which attract regular media and political attention. Moreover – albeit for very good reasons – general texts in the subject tend to be organised around broad social, cultural or psychological explanations of ‘crime’ or ‘criminality’, and/or around social and criminal justice responses to offences and offenders. This often means that what may be markedly different types of behaviour in markedly different contexts are conflated and discussed only under catch-all categories such as ‘violence’ or ‘sex offending’. In addition, little may be said about what might be called ‘emerging’ crime problems: for example, new illegal ways of taking advantage of developments in technology, or types of criminal behaviour which appear to be growing in frequency or seriousness. Examples include various forms of Internet fraud, identity theft and, of course, global terrorism.

It was discussions along these lines that initially sparked the idea for this book. In essence, we and our contributors have adopted the highly unusual strategy of, in each chapter, using a specific type of crime as the starting point for discussion and analysis. Of course, there are significant risks and challenges attached to such an approach. Most obviously, there is a danger of failing to go beyond the purely descriptive and hence producing no more than a catalogue of ‘facts’ about each offence type. Conversely, if this problem is avoided by engaging in every chapter in etiological debates, there is a risk of excessive repetition: many offenders commit a range of different offences, doubtless often for similar underlying reasons. In addition, there are difficult judgments to be made about how to define, divide up and select the ‘types of crime’ to be covered: for example, to what extent they should be categorised according to legal or social categories (e.g. ‘robbery’ or ‘mugging’), victim . . .

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