darkly shaded painting of two winged angels chasing a man who runs away from a fallen, naked man attacked and subdued for his clothing
Justice and Divine Vengeance in pursuit of Crime– 1808 oil-on-canvas by Pierre-Paul Prud'heon

A crime (or misdemeanor or felony) is an act done by a person which is against the laws of a country or region. A person who does this is called a criminal.

The basic idea of what things are called "crimes" is that they are thought to be things that might cause a problem for another person. Things like killing another person, injuring another person, or stealing from another person are crimes in most countries. Also, it can be a crime to have or sell contraband such as guns or illegal drugs.

When some criminals make money from crime, they try to stop the police finding out where the money came from by money laundering. Men and boys commit many more crimes than women and girls.[1]

Levels of crime

There are various levels of crimes. In some jurisdictions they are:

  • misdemeanor - a minor crime, typically punished by a fee or less than 1 year in jail.
  • felony (or high crime) - a major crime, typically punished by 1 year or longer in prison.

Different countries have different ideas of what things are crimes, and which ones are the worst. Some things that are crimes in one country are not crimes in other countries. Many countries get their ideas of what things are crimes from religions or controversial events which cause a law to be quickly created. For example, a religion might consider eating a particular food to be a crime. When automobiles became numerous, they killed or hurt many people in road accidents, so new laws were made for them.

In many countries, if people say they made or wrote a book, movie, song, or Web page that they did not really make or write, it is a crime against copyright laws. In many countries, helping to grow, make, move, or sell illegal drugs is a crime.

In most countries, police try to stop crimes and to find criminals. When the police find someone who they think might be a criminal, they usually hold the person in a jail. Then, usually, a court or a judge decides if the person really did a crime. If the court or judge decides that the person really did it, then he or she might have to pay a fine or go to prison. Sometimes the judge might decide that the criminal should be executed (killed). This is called Capital punishment (or the Death Penalty). There are countries in the world that execute criminals, and others that do not.

In many countries, two conditions must exist for an act to be criminal:

  • Mens rea - occurs when the offence is committed with intent or knowledge or recklessness (guilty mind)
  • Actus rea - a wrongful deed

Both must be present for the act to be considered a crime.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Misdaad
العربية: جريمة
azərbaycanca: Cinayət
বাংলা: অপরাধ
Bân-lâm-gú: Hoān-chōe
беларуская: Злачынства
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Злачынства
भोजपुरी: अपराध
български: Престъпление
bosanski: Kriminal
brezhoneg: Torfed
català: Crim
Чӑвашла: Криминал
čeština: Trestný čin
Cymraeg: Trosedd
Deutsch: Verbrechen
eesti: Kuritegu
Ελληνικά: Έγκλημα
English: Crime
español: Crimen
Esperanto: Krimo
euskara: Krimen
فارسی: بزه
føroyskt: Lógarbrot
français: Crime
Frysk: Misdie
Gaeilge: Coireacht
galego: Crime
한국어: 범죄
हिन्दी: अपराध
hrvatski: Kazneno djelo
Ido: Krimino
Bahasa Indonesia: Pidana
íslenska: Glæpur
italiano: Crimine
עברית: עבירה
Basa Jawa: Kadurjanan
ಕನ್ನಡ: ಅಪರಾಧ
ქართული: დანაშაული
қазақша: Қылмыс
Latina: Scelus
latviešu: Noziegums
Limburgs: Criminaliteit
македонски: Злосторство
मराठी: अपराध
Bahasa Melayu: Jenayah
Mirandés: Crime
မြန်မာဘာသာ: ရာဇဝတ်မှု
Nederlands: Misdaad
日本語: 犯罪
occitan: Crime
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Jinoyat
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਜੁਰਮ
Patois: Kraim
português: Crime
română: Infracțiune
Runa Simi: Q'uma
русский: Преступление
Scots: Crime
සිංහල: අපරාධ
slovenčina: Trestný čin
slovenščina: Kriminal
Soomaaliga: Gef
کوردی: تاوان
српски / srpski: Злочин
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Kriminal
suomi: Rikos
svenska: Brott
Tagalog: Krimen
தமிழ்: குற்றம்
తెలుగు: నేరం
тоҷикӣ: Ҷиноят
Türkçe: Suç
українська: Злочин
اردو: جُرم
Tiếng Việt: Tội phạm
文言: 罪犯
Winaray: Krimen
ייִדיש: פארברעכן
粵語: 犯罪
中文: 犯罪