Crime of the society. An act is
Crimehas always existed from the inception of time. From the dawn of the 19thcentury, three broad perspectives have contributed to the explanation of crime.Early in the century, crime was thought to be as a result of urbandespicability, poor parenting and poverty.
Crime today is a major problem ofboth public and private concern. Crime,like other concepts in social sciences, has no generally accepted definition.At first, it might seem really easy to define, such as doing something wrong orrelating crime to pure societal evil. Crimeis a socially constructed phenomenon. Its meaning is influenced byconsiderations of time and space.
Its construction is based upon theinteraction of four key elements, which is also known as the chemistry ofcrime. These elements or components are – the victims, the offenders, apossible target and the absence of a guardian. For crime to be said to occur,these elements have to interact together. Criminologists infer that crime has two majorelements, – criminal act which is either a commission or an omission and mentalelement which is called the criminal intent, which is the rationality of thecriminal. Both of the elements may pose serious threat to the physical, mentalhealth, life and property. Therefore, crimes must have these two elements andif either of them is lacking, then there is no crime.
Crime is basically defined through the eyes ofthe society. An act is not a crime until society dooms it to be and if societyconsiders some acts, not opposed to their group sentiments, then that act isnot a crime at all. Crime is an act which offends and threatens the society.Therefore, those act needs to be punished. The basic reason behind the makingof law is to take punitive measures on those who commit the crime and theselaws are the result of society’s need to stop the happening of such act. Forexample, witchcraft much earlier was considered as a crime and was punishable.
At that time, people were very religious and believed in black magic orwitchcraft and thought that witchcraft was a crime and those who practice it shouldbe persecuted. In a strict legal sense, crime is the breaking of rules or lawsfor which some governing authority, such as legal systems, can ultimatelyprescribe a conviction. .Therefore, crime is relative.Everysociety across the globe has its problems and challenges. Nigeria is noexception. As a developing country that she is, she faces her own social,political, economic and cultural problems which have in no small measure ofquantity affected the well-being of the general populace. One of such problemsbedeviling the country is the rising wave of crime.
Nigeria has been on the globalcrime map since 1980.Thesedays, criminals are getting more and more methodological and smarter in the manner to which they carry outcriminal acts physically, (via the use of weapons and man power),psychologically, for instance, hypnosis is used to commit crimes, andscientifically, via the use of devices and the internet. For example whitecollar crimes have become rampant. It refers to financially motivatednonviolent crime committed by business and government professionals, it wasfirst defined by sociologist Edwin Sutherland in 1939 as “a crime committed bya person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation”What is troubling is the new dimension in methodological criminal acts inNigeria which involves acts of terrorism and sabotage against individuals andsocial environments. Incidents such as a case in which someindividual were stalked and eventually trapped in uncompleted buildings,basements or even car trunks depict theviciousness of violent criminals.
These acts are usually well planned,orchestrated, syndicated and organized in the mafia-type fashion. InNigeria, to control and stop these types of crime, three bodies are responsiblefor the administration of criminal justice in Nigeria. These bodies are: thecourt, the police and the prison. The Nigerian civil police force is made upof; custom, immigration and prison enforcement. According to section 194 of the1979 constitution, the Nigerian Police Force is appointed with jurisdictionthroughout the country.Otherbranches of the police force protect the harbor, waterways, railways andairfields. The Nigerian police force performs typical police functions and isresponsible for internal security.The views thatcitizens have about the police are important.
These views can influence thedegree and type of interaction people have with the police and the degree ofsupport provided to the police (Cao & Dai, 2006). Without public support,modern policing is difficult, if not impossible (Islam & Ali, 2008).Positive views of the police by citizens can lead to a positive relationshipwith the police, which can improve the effectiveness of the police (Brown , 2002). Negative views canlead to resentment, which can impede the ability of the police to be effectiveformal agents of law and order (Goldsmith, 2005).
Policing views are,therefore, important to explore and understand (Nalla & Madan, 2011). Whilethere is a growing body of research on policing views, the vast majority ofstudies have focused on Western nations, especially the United States (Brown,Benedict, & Wilkinson, 2006; Cao & Dai, 2006).