Criminology and the Art of Understanding Crimes
The year 2013 had its share of shocking crimes. Just recently, on the 17th of September, a single gunman killed at least 12 people inside the Washington D.C. Navy Station, only a few miles away from the White House. The gunman, identified as Aaron Alexis is known to be a contractor and a former Navy serviceman. He is believed to be someone who always extends assistance to friends and neighbors. But what led him to kill 12 innocent people?
The case is still under investigation. The success of the investigation would depend on the ability and capability of the investigating officers to uncover every detail that led to the death of 12 people in Washington. It does not start with Aaron Alexis. It starts with his family, his place of birth, his schools, his friends, his co-workers and all information, event, experience and history that made him decide to kill without mercy.
The investigators will also look for a motive in the killing before ruling out that the killing s just a spur of the moment insanity or bursting out of depression, disappointment, fury or resentment. They will surely check on all his transactions, work experience and activities during his time with the Navy. They will also investigate all contacts from work, from his company, from his sphere of friends, acquaintances and families. They will also examine the physical evidence such as the weapons used by the suspect, the bullets, the victims’ bodies and more.
And each victim will definitely be checked until the investigators established a clear motive or a clear story in the killings. It is not easy to become a criminologist. And since the popularization of Forensic Science, solving crimes escalated into a new level of sophistication and accuracy.
How to Become a Criminologist?
Before engaging in a career related to solving and fighting crimes, one has to complete a Bachelor of Science in Criminology degree. Breaking the usual notion that it is only limited to careers in law enforcement, Criminology is actually an art of understanding all details related to crime. It also includes all kinds of crime from crime against property, crime against persons to juvenile crime, syndicated or organized crimes and terrorism.
A Bachelor of Science in Criminology program covers studies in Basic Criminology, Psychology, Sociology, Forensic Psychology, Criminal Profiling, Forensics, Behavioral Science, Chemistry, Federal and States Laws, Information Management, Leadership Training and basic Computer courses.
The degree is expanded and more comprehensive. The new approach in Criminology prepares students how to accurately and intelligently measure and identify the nature of crimes; the politics and behavior of crimes; the statistics of crimes; the psychosocial patterns of criminals; and to master the investigative characteristics of a good criminologist.
For those who want to achieve greater career opportunities, completing a degree course in Criminology is a start although a graduate degree can help one to get higher-paying jobs.
Most of the bigger paychecks can be found in the Federal law enforcement bureaus, courts or in international crime agencies like the Interpol. The entry level salary for criminologists, police officers and other law enforcers is around US $20,000 per year while the median annual salary for criminal sociologists and other experts in crime-related fields is US $72,000. Meanwhile, criminal specialists working in big agencies can earn as high as US $129,870.
How do Crimes Affect Society?
Aside from understanding the individual characteristics of a certain crime, criminologists also study the impact of crimes in communities. There are several theories that explain why individuals commit crime. One or two of these theories say that some crimes are “social” or “political.” The society reacts to crimes and crimes react to society. There are criminals who commit crime against communities, against governments, or against races or groups of people – in most cases, these crimes are statements of political stand or convictions, or opposition to certain norms or social standards.
In more recent studies, societies and communities also show varying reactions to crimes. In others, the proliferation of crimes enabled the community to be vigilant and more caring while in other cases, crimes created walls among the inhabitants. Self-preservation and self-protection become more important than community watch or community crime prevention activities.