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In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state or other authority. The term "crime" does not, in modern criminal law, have any simple and universally accepted definition, though statutory definitions have been provided for certain purposes. The most popular view is that crime is a category created by law; in other words, something is a crime if declared as such by the relevant and applicable law. One proposed definition is that a crime or offence (or criminal offence) is an act harmful not only to some individual but also to a community, society or the state ("a public wrong"). Such acts are forbidden and punishable by law.

The notion that acts such as murder, rape and theft are to be prohibited exists worldwide. What precisely is a criminal offence is defined by criminal law of each country. While many have a catalogue of crimes called the criminal code, in some common law countries no such comprehensive statute exists.

The state (government) has the power to severely restrict one's liberty for committing a crime. In modern societies, there are procedures to which investigations and trials must adhere. If found guilty, an offender may be sentenced to a form of reparation such as a community sentence, or, depending on the nature of their offence, to undergo imprisonment, life imprisonment or, in some jurisdictions, execution.

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A prostitution "reeducation center" at a former brothel in Beijing, 1949
Since the loosening of government controls over society in the early 1980s, prostitution in the People's Republic of China has not only reappeared, but can now be found throughout urban and rural areas. In spite of government efforts, prostitution has now developed to the extent that it comprises an industry, one that involves a great number of people and produces a considerable economic output. Prostitution has also become associated with a number of problems, including organised crime, government corruption and sexually transmitted diseases. Prostitution-related activities in mainland China are characterised by diverse types, venues and prices. Sellers of sex come from a broad range of social backgrounds. While the PRC government has always taken a hard line on organisers of prostitution, it has vacillated in its legal treatment of the prostitute herself, treating prostitution sometimes as a crime and sometimes as misconduct. Despite lobbying by international NGOs and overseas commentators, there is not much support for legalisation of the sex sector by the public, social organisations or the government of the PRC.

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U.S. Army CID special agents at a crime scene
Credit: U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command

A crime scene is a location where an illegal act took place, and comprises the area from which most of the physical evidence is retrieved by trained law enforcement personnel, CSIs or in rare circumstances forensic scientists.


11 July 2019 –
American R&B singer R. Kelly is arrested in Chicago on federal sex crime charges. (NBC News)
8 July 2019 –
The International Criminal Court declares Bosco Ntaganda guilty of having committed war crimes during the Ituri conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (DW)
6 July 2019 –
American billionaire Jeffrey Epstein is arrested and faces new charges related to alleged sex crimes involving minors. (ABC News)
4 July 2019 – Crime in Virginia
A 20-year-old man is charged with stabbing three in a machete attack in a plasma center in Petersburg, Virginia. (Yahoo News)
28 June 2019 – Aftermath of the Charlottesville car attack
James A. Fields Jr. is sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to 29 hate crimes for driving his car into a crowd of protestors, killing one and injuring 28, at the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. (CNN) (NBC News) (The Washington Post)
23 May 2019 –
John Walker Lindh, the first person to be convicted of a crime in the War on Terror, is released on probation from a U.S. federal prison after serving 17 years of a 20-year sentence. Lindh has refused to renounce Islamist extremism and will be on probation for three years. U.S. President Donald Trump condemns the early release. (CNN) (Associated Press)

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John Wilkes Booth
John Wilkes Booth (May 10, 1838 – April 26, 1865) was an American stage actor, who assassinated Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C. on April 14, 1865. Lincoln died the next day from a single gunshot wound to the back of the head, becoming the first American president to be assassinated. Booth was a member of the prominent 19th century Booth family of actors from Maryland. He was also a Confederate sympathizer and expressed vehement dissatisfaction with the South's defeat in the Civil War. He opposed Lincoln's proposal to extend voting rights to recently emancipated slaves. Booth and a group of co-conspirators led by him planned to kill Abraham Lincoln, Vice President Andrew Johnson, Secretary of State William Seward, and Secretary of War Edwin Stanton in a desperate bid to help the tottering Confederacy's cause. Although Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia had surrendered four days earlier, Booth believed the war was not yet over since Confederate General Joseph Johnston's army was still fighting the Union Army under General William Tecumseh Sherman. Of the conspirators, only Booth was successful in carrying out his part of the plot. Following the shooting, Booth fled by horseback to southern Maryland and eventually to a farm in rural northern Virginia, where he was tracked down and killed by Union soldiers two weeks later. Several of the other conspirators were tried and hanged shortly thereafter.

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Abdulameer Yousef Habeeb



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Ambrose Bierce
Destiny: a tyrant's authority for crime, and a fool's excuse for failure.

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