Critically Examine What the Concept of Social Harm Might Offer to Understanding of the Complexities of Crime

Critically examine what the concept of “social harm” might offer to understandings of the complexities of “crime”.

      The complexities of crime can be understood in depth when examine through the concept of social harm. As a starting point it is necessary to provide the definition of crime and that of social harm. Continuing through the use of examples will critically examine how the concept of social harm influences positive and negative the view on the complexities of crime. And finally a summary will be given before concluding that when crime is looked through the lens of social harm is not as clear and definite as it is when is looked from a legal straight cut approach.

      It is hard to offer a universal definition of crime but one that is accepted from the majority is that, crime is an act which causes harm not only to an individual but also in a community or state and this act is not allowed and is punishable by law. However with no central properties that pinpoint what constitutes crime, crime is changeable and fluid through time and space .Where social harm is used to expand the notion of harm, and help to understand the harms that occur within society by individuals, communities, states and organisation. Those harms not always are seen by law as crimes but their effect could be bigger than some crimes (Muncie, Talbot & Walters, 2010).

      A fine example of social harms not being seeing as crimes by criminal law and as result those who commit such harms or crimes they do not get persecuted is the corporate crime or “white collar crime”. Edwin Sutherland considerers to be a pioneer on determine the concept of “white collar crimes”, i.e. crimes committed by persons that hold a high respectable position within the social circle as a result of their occupation. Sutherland recognises that many powerful business committed crimes everyday and they used their power to influence the operation and organization of the law. Sutherland states that...