Crime Types and Their Harm to Society

In consideration of Herbert L. Packer’s crime control and due process models, why would anyone object to randomly having their car searched by a police officer if they have nothing to hide?

In many developed countries, members of the public are protected by the constitution against illicit search and arrests whether conducted by the police or any other public or private officers. However, reality shows a different trend altogether. Although members of the public are aware of their rights, most of them give in to pressure exerted by police officers, especially in the case of traffic police. Even though most human rights activists claim that searches without a warrant or permission from the owner of the vehicle are illegal, some cases may justify such searches.

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Packer’s crime control model proposes that law enforcement officers should be given more power to make investigations, arrests, and searches easier in a bid to make the society a crime-free zone. For instance, if a police officer stops a vehicle and can see illegal merchandise in a driver’s vehicle, he has a right to search that particular car. Similarly, if a law officer suspects that a car is carrying contraband or if he is led to think so by the smell of a certain illegal or so, then a search can be justified.

However, if a police officer stops a motorist and none of the situations above seem to apply, that officer should get a search warrant to justify his request. In such cases, the motorist has all the rights to repudiate a search request by the officer. In such a case, due process should prevail; Packer’s due process model claims that constitutional rights should be upheld, and anyone who breaches these rights should be held responsible to ensure that justice and impartiality prevail. If the officer does not have a search warrant and appears to be biased, the motorist should not authenticate such a search even if he is sure that he has no illegal items in his car.

On the other hand, many officers do not take it kindly if their request is not granted and may conduct a search without a motorist’s permission. Others may keep you waiting until they obtain a search warrant. In such cases, it is wise to let them search the vehicle but letting them know on record that you have not authorized such a search. Such recordings can help you sue the officer for the invasion of privacy; Packer’s due process model proposes that police powers should be checked to stop them from oppressing individuals.

Which type of crimes are more harmful to society: violent crimes against persons or white-collar crime?

Generally, all types of crimes should be discouraged, and they should attract punishment that is commensurate to the severity of the crime. Concerning violent crimes against the person such as gang rape, murder, and robbery with violence, it is apparent that the law has implemented adequate punishment measures against such crimes. However, punishment for white-collar crimes remains lenient due to their indeterminate nature in terms of severity and to some extent due to ignorance of the great impact they have on society.

Violent crimes against the person are considered serious since their effects are superficial and manifest; observers do not need to possess special skills to see the victims involved in such crimes. However, research has revealed that white-collar crimes that are perceived to be victimless have even more victims compared to violent crimes against the person. Even though white-collar crimes are in many cases non-violent in nature, their victims and impacts are multiple times those of violent crimes against the person.

These crimes involve mass deceit, evasion of taxes, and breach of antitrust laws among other crimes. Unfortunately, getting the real picture behind white-collar crimes, in terms of victims and impacts, is an art that requires a deeper insight into such crimes. The repercussions and ramifications behind these crimes remain ignored by the public since most victims are unaware that they are affected albeit indirectly.

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A white-collar crime such as Bernie Madoff’s $50 billion investment scam did not involve murder or rape of its victims. However, its long-term effects saw several victims die after they lost all they had to that scam, while, some died out of stress, others committed suicide out of desperation, and thousands of other people were adversely affected. Therefore, white-collar crimes may result in more deaths and harm to the person than violent crimes against the person.

Moreover, white-collar crimes impact the economy negatively and therefore affect society in its entirety. Therefore, white-collar crimes are more serious than violent crimes against the person, and they deserve severe punishment.

About the concept of the Dark Figure of Crime, why some victims of crime don’t report it?

The number of crimes reported represents less than half of all crimes that happen; a significant fraction of crimes go unreported every year. The Dark Figure of Crime, which represents these unrecorded figures, is realized due to several reasons. First and foremost, for a crime to be recorded, someone has to be alert when that crime is committed. Secondly, the crime has to be reported and a law officer or the pertinent organization has to concede that the law was bent or breached.

Most members of the public consider these basics of criminal law as great restrictions and only report crimes in compelling situations. Some crimes are disregarded by the general public since they think they are too inconsequential to pursue. Some victims may fail to report a crime in cases where they feel their public image will be at stake if the case is reported; some examples of such crimes include rape, defamation, or uncomfortable happenings. In other cases, victims of crime may fail to report an offense committed against them and opt for revenge.

On the other hand, quite a significant number of crimes go unreported as most members of the public feel that the criminal justice system is unreliable; many people do not have confidence in the police force due to past failures and the general misconception that police are shady in their job. In other cases, people fear being victimized and reject being witnesses even before a crime is reported. Such refusals discourage victims from reporting crimes.

Another possible reason is that many victims feel threatened by the perpetrator and fear that reporting a crime may trigger an attack from the defendant. In other cases, such as crimes against children, the victim may not be aware of his rights or the channel to take in case a crime is committed against them. Other victims, such as prisoners, maybe disfavored by their positions in society even if they wished to report crimes committed against them.

Should gambling, prostitution, and the use of marijuana continue to be criminal?

Unlike other crimes like white-collar crimes and violent crimes against the person, crimes such as prostitution, gambling, and the use of illicit drugs are considered victimless crimes in the sense that their people choose to carry out those crimes. Though issues such as abortion are legal, they are targeted towards definite victims; crimes of prostitution, gambling, and drug use are in most cases a matter of choice.

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Looking at abortion in terms of its direct impacts, unborn children are directly murdered during this act. In terms of its long-term societal impacts, abortion threatens the human life cycle and its future generations. In contrast, prostitution involves commercial sex, which has no direct impact on human health. If victims and perpetrators of prostitution use the right contraceptive procedures, they can hardly face the wrath of sexually transmitted diseases. Therefore, in terms of their impacts, abortion is a more devastating crime as compared to prostitution; yet the law permits abortion.

On the other hand, crimes such as gambling, and the use of marijuana would never be a big issue if only they were legal. Substance abuse, for example, is supposed to be a health problem and not a crime. If the use of marijuana was legal, no one would be afraid to be victimized for using drugs, and hence more victims would seek drug treatment services in federal health institutions. If only marijuana was legal, there would be fewer drug-related deaths and crimes.

Black markets for drugs, for example, exist because of the mere fact that drugs such as marijuana are considered illegal. Similarly, gambling is a matter of choice, and if a member of the public feels it’s right for him to gamble, no one should stop them. The law should let members of the public exercise their rights freely.

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