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Criminology (from the Latin crimen accusation, offense) is the teaching of the means and methods of combating individual crimes and criminality ( crime ) through preventive ( preventive ) and prosecuting ( repressive ) measures. This includes the legally permissible, general and special methods, tactics and techniques required for this, which are based on the individual case.

Objective forensics is therefore the determination and forensic (court-proof) evidence of crime or the defense of crime risks and the prevention of crime.

Criminology as an independent discipline must be distinguished from criminology . Criminology is the study of the causes ( criminal etiology ) and manifestations ( criminal phenomenology ) of crime.

In addition to the direct consequences for suspects, the findings of criminology and criminology can also result in influences and effects on criminal policy with regard to the design of formal and substantive criminal law , penal law and criminal strategy.

Areas of criminology

The criminalistics can be divided into:

  • Crime
    strategy The crime strategy deals with the planning of the procedure for the general fight against crime. This also includes preventive measures against crime and individual offenses. The usefulness has been doing for legal and law to be addressed.
  • Criminal tactics
    The criminal tactic deals with the planned and appropriate procedure in the concrete, individual fight against crime. Particularly noteworthy here are the tactical investigative procedures, for example the interrogation tactics .
  • Forensic technology
    The term forensic technology comprises all findings and measures that deal with the application and utilization of scientific and empirical findings with regard to forensic traces ( trace science ). With the help of forensic technology, a trace image can be formed, this shows the circumstances of the crime and the evidence.
  • Forensic
    science is only part of criminalistics for the law enforcement authorities . Its subject matter is the handling of criminal police resources, as regulated in administrative orders, decrees and service instructions, and the regulation of service operations.
  • Crime Prevention
    The Crime Prevention in preventing acts of unlawful acts. A distinction is made between general, situational and indicated prevention as well as perpetrator, situation and victim-related prevention.

History and conceptual history

Until the first half of the 20th century, the terms criminology and criminologist were used in a completely different sense than they are today: Criminology was the entire subject of criminal law and the criminal law border areas (e.g. criminology ). In a similar sense, civil studies encompassed all of civil law and (legal) German studies the entire area of ​​(common) German law, in contrast to Romance studies, which dealt with Roman law . This understanding of criminology was also the basis of the International Criminological Association (1889–1933), which did not deal with criminology in the current sense, but with questions of criminal law, criminal policy and criminology.

The history of the knowledge, methods and strategies that today fall under the term criminology goes back well before the origin of the term criminology to the first systematic attempts to identify and convict criminals. For Peter Becker, for example, the prehistory of criminology begins with torture and interrogation psychology. With the establishment of the criminal police in various European countries, modern criminalistics developed from the beginning of the 19th century. Police officers have been investigating crimes at the Berlin Criminal Court since 1811. The Sûreté was founded in France in 1818, and its first director was the former criminal Eugène François Vidocq (1775–1857). In 1829 the Metropolitan Police , better known as Scotland Yard , was established in England .

The first modern criminologist in Württemberg in the sense of today's linguistic usage, the Sulzer Oberamtmann Jacob Georg Schäffer (1745–1814), was not only concerned with solving crimes: he researched both their social causes and the reasons for the individual.

The founder of the first homicide squad in Germany, as it is set up by many police authorities today, was the Berlin criminalist Ernst Gennat (1880–1939). The scheme for processing important steps in the course of investigating homicides is based on its elaboration. This scheme is still used today by the criminal police .

Criminology as a subject (Germany)

In the course of reforms in the early 1990s, the State of Berlin decided against “continuing an undergraduate four-year course in criminalistics and dissolved the existing chairs.” This decision ended the criminal history tradition at the Humboldt University in Berlin not only in 1994, At the same time, the science of criminology was faced with the situation of being taught only in connection with its related sciences. There is currently no professorship for criminology at any public German college or university. Criminalistics can only be found as a basic or minor subject at law faculties, for example.

Anyone looking for an apprenticeship with a focus on criminology has been dependent on the offers of the federal states and the federal government in the context of police science and thus organ-related training since 1994. Every federal state offers a bachelor's degree , usually under the name “Polizeivollzugsdienst” or “Police Service”. The course usually takes place at the respective police colleges ; in individual cases, the bachelor's degree, which is shaped by the police, is also offered at non-police universities, such as the Berlin School of Economics and Law . In addition, the Federal Criminal Police Office also offers a bachelor's degree.

There is no master's degree in criminology at either police-linked or public universities. In various master’s courses, however, criminology serves as a basic subject: Examples are the master’s “Public Administration - Police Management” at the German Police University or “Criminology and Criminal Justice” at the Faculty of Law and Political Science at the University of Greifswald .

In the winter semester of 2012, the School of Governance Risk & Compliance at the private, state-recognized Steinbeis University in Berlin started a new part-time master’s course in Criminology (MA), which was given its own institute in spring 2014 with the Institute for Criminology. In March 2016, this master’s course was accredited by the Evaluation Agency Baden-Württemberg.

Individual evidence

  1. Becker, Peter: On the trail of the perpetrator. A history of criminology. Darmstadt, Primus Verlag 2005, ISBN 978-3896782755 .
  2. No need. End for criminology at the Humboldt University , Berliner Zeitung of October 6, 1994.
  3. ^ Rolf Ackermann: Criminology - Science - Society . In: Heiko Artkämper and Horst Clages (eds.) Criminology yesterday - today - tomorrow. Festschrift for the 10th anniversary of the German Society for Criminology . Richard Boorberg Verlag 2013, p. 29.
  4. Criminal Police Department at the BKA ( Memento of the original dated February 8, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , accessed February 8, 2015. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  5. Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Criminology and Criminal Justice - Kriminologie und Strafrechtspflege ( Memento of the original from October 22, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , University of Greifswald , accessed on February 8, 2015. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  6. Master's degree in criminalistics , Steinbeis University Berlin , accessed on March 18, 2016.
  7. ^ School of Criminal Investigation & Forensic Science | Institute for Criminology , Steinbeis University Berlin, accessed on February 8, 2015.