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Criminology: A Mini Unit

Here is an interesting set of activities for studying the subject of criminology. Criminology is a great elective science course, interesting to almost any age, and useful for gaining understanding of the process of our criminal justice system uses.

1. Begin by explaining that criminology is a science. What other “ologies” do they know about? What kind of science do you think criminology is? (scientific study of crime, criminals, and criminal behavior).

2. Brainstorm what you know about criminology and what questions you would like to find answers for. 3. Make a list of all the professions that you believe would benefit from the study of criminology. How do you think the study of criminology benefits society in general?

4. Of the professions you listed in activity three, investigate at least three of them. Find out their requirements for education, their job duties, the average salary for this job, the highest administrative level you can go in that field, and people in that field that work in your area. You may also wish to interview one of those people to see how they feel about their job, what risks they are exposed to while doing their job, and how they think their job affects society and/or their family.

5. Use words associated with criminology as vocabulary: abuse, assault, burglarly, criminology, felony, larceny, misdemeanor, offense, premeditated, rehabilitation, robbery, vandalism, etc.

6. What words do you think of when you think of crime? Add these words to your vocabulary list begun above.

7. Write three headings – Felony (serious), Misdemeanor (a lesser offense than felony), and Offense (crime) – on a piece of paper. Think of different kinds of crimes and list them under the heading you believe to be most appropriate.

8. Look through your local newspapers for clippings about crimes. Pick one and do follow ups to the story by seeing if it is mentioned in the newspaper or on the local news. What was the conclusion or outcome?

9. Discuss violence on television. Do you think that it contributes to crime? Is the affect different for different age groups? Do you think it portrays crime and criminals realistically.

10. Hypothesize why crime has been on the rise and why you think many crimes are committed. Do social and economic factors play a role? Does education play a role? Explain your answers.

11. What do you think would deter crime from happening? Do you believe harsher punishments are needed? Why or why not?

12. Do you think rehabilitation will deter additional criminal behavior? Why or why not? What kind of rehabilitation do you think works and which kinds do not? Explain your answers and/or site cases and statistics that you have found in your research.

13. Field trip ideas: visit a courtroom, police station, forensic unit, etc. Before going, prepare specific questions to ask the staff. Bring a notebook and pencil to record the answers to these questions. List all of the new information learned. Afterwards, write an essay on the fieldtrip.

14. Study famous crimes in history. Examples of this would be the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby, the Rosenberg Spy case, the tales of Al Capone and other crime lords of the early 20th century, etc. How do you think these crimes affected society at the time they were occurring? Do you think these historical crimes still affect us today?

15. Compare your local/city/state crime statistics with the local/city/state crime statistics of another area. How do they compare? Are there areas of the country where certain types of crimes are more prevalent than others?

16. For this activity you will make a chart. List several crimes and why you think each of these crimes are committed. Then include ways to deter or stop … whether prevention or punishment … each of these crimes. Take into account that different types of crimes require different approaches.

17. How do you think the judicial system in your area affects the crime rate in your area? Do you think people are adequately punished or are they “let off” too often? Site examples and explain your answer.

18. What are some of the improvements that could be made in your area to deter crime? Explain why you believe each improvement would help.

19. Find a college or university that offers a degree in criminology. Is it a 2 year degree or a 4 year degree? What are the classes that you are required to take in order to receive the degree? Why do you think each of these classes are important? Do you think these course are actually used once the person enters into their career? Explain your answers.

20. After completing this unit, decide whether you would like to pursue a career in the field of criminology. If you would, which career would you be interested in and why?


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