CRIMINOLOGY is the scientific study of crime and the criminal. It is not one of the fundamental sciences, but is a hybrid product of several sciences. Zoology, anthropology, his tory and sociology furnish the facts for a de scription of the nature, origin and evolution of crime. Meteorology, demography and the special social sciences, such as economics, poli tics, etc., contribute to the analysis of the environmental causes of crime. Anatomy, physiology, psychology and psychiatry furnish the facts and methods for the study of the traits and types of criminals. Comparative jurisprudence and law contribute to the study of the penal treatment of the crime and the criminal.
The subject matter of criminological science may be grouped into the following principal branches: (1) Theory of the nature and evolution of crime; (2) criminal sociology; (3) criminal anthropology; (4) criminal psychology; (5) criminal jurisprudence; (6) penology.
The study of criminology has great socio logical significance and practical value. It fur nishes one of the most striking illustrations of the relation between the individual and society and of the conflict between individuals and social interests. Punishment of the criminal is the most drastic form of social repression, and criminology is essentially a study of social control Consequently, criminology and ethics are closely related, and the study of crime and the criminal involves the discussion of numer ous ethical problems of great social importance and scientific interest.
Equivalents of crime are to be found among animals. The mammals and birds share many of the instincts and feelings possessed by man. In each of these animal species habits and cus toms arise which in the long run aid the sur vival of the species. Acts which are contrary to these habits and customs will usually be injurious to the species, and therefore are re acted against by members of the species. The study of the primitive peoples has shown that violations of customs constituted some if not all of the primitive crimes. In most cases the laws of the higher stages of social evolution have developed out of the customs of the community, and even down to the present day changes in the laws are determined mainly by changes in the customs. Other forces which have influenced greatly the evolution of crime have been magical practices, religious beliefs, public opinion and moral ideas. Some of the primitive crimes were treason, witchcraft, sac rilege, incest, poisoning, breaches of the hunting rules, etc. These offenses were punished some times through private vengeance, in other cases by means of penalties inflicted by the primitive community, such as death, banishment, etc. As civilization developed, government as an organ ized mechanism of social control came into being. The written law now specifies the acts
which are to be stigmatized and punished as criminal, and thus gives formal expression to the customs and beliefs of the civilized com munity. Private vengeance has been gradually eliminated, and the government now exercises its police powers by imposing the penalties pre scribed by the law through an elaborate system of courts, prisons, etc. Thus a crime in a civ ilized community may be defined as an act which is forbidden and punished by law, which is almost always immoral according to the prevailing ethical standard, which is usually harmful to society, which it is ordinarily feas ible to repress by penal measures, and whose repression is necessary or is supposed to be necessary to the preservation of the existing social order.
Cosmic and Social Factors in Crime.— The fortes in the environment which give rise to criminal conduct are numerous and complex. Climate, season and the weather have a good deal of influence upon crime. Many statistics have accumulated which indicate several definite correlations • between these telluric conditions and the extent and character of crime. As a general thing, crimes against the person increase with a rise in temperature. Crimes against property, on the contrary, usually decrease with a warmer temperature and increase as the tem perature falls. Atmospheric pressure, winds, humidity and other meteorological factors also have a discernible effect upon criminal conduct. But all of these factors have perhaps an even greater indirect influence, namely, through their influence upon industrial and social 'conditions. Economic activities are determined to a large extent by climatic and seasonal factors, and these activities determine in turn wage rates, unemployment and other occupational condi tions. The struggle for existence for mankind has assumed, to a large extent, an economic form. It has become a struggle to obtain the commodities needed and desired within the system of production based upon the division of labor and exchange. Most of the criminal activity, therefore, arises out of the economic struggle, while all of it is conditioned by the economic environment. The influence of eco nomic forces upon criminality may be studied in at least four ways. In the first place, fluctua tions in the extent of crime may be correlated with economic changes. In the second place, the economic crimes, namely, the crimes in which economic motives are predominant, may be studied. In the third place, the economic status of criminals, namely, their position with respect to the distribution of wealth and occu pations, may be studied. In the fourth place, professional criminality may be studied.