Crime vocabulary


Watch the video on crime vocabulary, then answer the questions below. There is also additional reading, and a full list of words at the end.

Duration: 15.13 Published: 9 Apr, 2022 View on YouTube »» View on Youku »»

Exercise 1


Exercise 2


Exercise 3

The following are verbs, nouns (thing) and nouns (person) from the video. Drag each word into the right area according to part of speech, and also whether it relates to committing crime, preventing crime or is a neutral word.



Below is a reading passage containing many of the words or phrases from the video. Some other useful words or phrases are also highlighted. Key:
            words/phrases from the video;
            other useful words/phrases.

Types of Crimes

Society generally views certain crimes as more severe than others. For example, most people would consider murder to be far worse than stealing a wallet and would expect a murderer to be punished more severely than a thief. In modern U.S. society, crimes are classified as one of two types based on their severity. Violent crimes (also known as "crimes against a person") are based on the use of force or the threat of force. Rape, murder, and armed robbery fall under this category. Nonviolent crimes involve the destruction or theft of property but do not use force or the threat of force. Because of this, they are also sometimes called "property crimes". Larceny, car theft, and vandalism are all types of nonviolent crimes. If you use a crowbar to break into a car, you are committing a nonviolent crime; if you mug someone with the crowbar, you are committing a violent crime.

When we think of crime, we often picture street crime, or offences committed by ordinary people against other people or organizations, usually in public spaces. An often-overlooked category is corporate crime, or crime committed by white-collar workers in a business environment. Embezzlement, insider trading, and identity theft are all types of corporate crime. Although these types of offences rarely receive the same amount of media coverage as street crimes, they can be far more damaging.

An often-debated third type of crime is victimless crime. Crimes are called victimless when the perpetrator is not explicitly harming another person. As opposed to battery or theft, which clearly have a victim, a crime like drinking a beer when someone is underage, or selling a sexual act do not result in injury to anyone other than the individual who engages in them, although they are illegal. While some claim acts like these are victimless, others argue that they actually harm society. Such debates highlight how the deviant and criminal nature of actions develops through ongoing public discussion.

Adapted from: 7.3 Crime and the Law from Introduction to Sociology 2e, an OpenStax text book by Rice University. Download for free at

List of words

Below is a list of words/phrases from the video, with part of speech and other information. Key:
            the word (or both words of a collocation) is in the list, or is mid-frequency;
            one word of a collocation is in the list or is mid-frequency, but the other is not.

Mid-frequency means 4k to 9k in the BNC/COCA list, i.e. words 3001-9000. Collocations are listed first.

#Word/phrasePart of
Related words/notesACLAWLAVLFreq
1high ratesadj+n+ of3k/1k
2intellectual propertyadj+n~ rights4k/3k
3public perceptionadj+n3k/1k
4public safetyadj+nCompare personal safety4k/1k
5aggressionnaggressor (n-person), aggressive (adj)4k
6commitv~ a crime, ~ an offence, ~ plagiarism2k
7correlatev+ with, highly/negatively/strongly/etc. ~d
correlation (n) + between
8crimencriminal (adj), criminal (n-person), criminal offence1k
9detern+ sb from doing sth, -rr-,
deterrent (n), -act as a ~, effective ~
10enforcementnlaw ~3k
11engagev+ in an activity2k
12exploitvexploitation (n)3k
14offencencriminal ~, commit an ~, serious ~3k
20violencen+ against, domestic ~, sexual ~
violent (adj), ~ crime, ~ behaviour


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Watch the videos to understand word meaning and usage.


Check your word knowledge with interactive exercises


See the words in context with additional, authentic texts.


Improve your writing by using the words and collocations.

Sheldon Smith

Author: Sheldon Smith    ‖    Last modified: 09 April 2022.

Sheldon Smith is the founder and editor of He has been teaching English for Academic Purposes since 2004. Find out more about him in the about section and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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