Four Classifications of Crime According to Criminal Law

Law concept shotLaw concept shotThe word crime traces its origins to the Latin word “crimin” and its variation “crimen,” which translates to “accusation” or “misdeed,” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Further dissected, the word is believed to be derived from the verb “cernere.” The first half of the word consists of the variant “cri-” which means “to decide, sift or distinguish,” while the second half consists of the suffix “-men, which is linked to the end of words to transform them into a noun.

After examining its etymology, you now have an idea of what “crime” means. Crime is a deliberate offense that a person, whether coerced or not, commits. It will be one of the first concepts your instructor will discuss to you once you begin your criminal investigator training. Understanding the origins and the nature of crime is central to your success in solving one.

Arson, larceny, rape, fraud, terrorism — these are just some of the words that you have probably heard before that are associated with the word crime. There are many forms of crime, however. They are divided into four major classifications:


As its name suggests, personal crimes are crimes committed against a person, which affects them either physically or psychologically. Rape, assault, and murder are examples of personal crimes. Robbery, which is also categorized as a crime against property, is also considered a personal crime in that it causes physical and emotional distress to the victim.


Property crimes are offenses committed against property. Ownership of property, whether a car or savings, is one of the basic rights of a person, and preventing someone from enjoying that liberty through unlawful ways merits punishment. Fraud, forgery, theft, and robbery are categorized under crimes against property.


Inchoate offenses are crimes committed to fulfill another crime. Conspiracy, attempt (i.e., to commit manslaughter, robbery, etc.) and bribery are types of inchoate offenses.


Statutory crimes, as it sounds, are crimes committed against the government as well as the laws passed by its legislative body. Insider trading, statutory rape, drug trafficking, and drunk driving are classified as statutory crimes.

The Author

Scroll to Top