In search of a crime

20th January, 2008

Following on from In search of no crime it seems reasonable to spend a little time peeling apart the crime itself.

After a little thought it was clear that a crime can be split into three sections:

  1. Intent
  2. Action
  3. Outcome

For example, because the driver is concentrating on something else (intent), a car might be wobbling down the road (action) and hits someone (outcome).

What's interesting here is that the criminal justice system, ostensibly in the UK, works the other way:

  1. Detect outcome
  2. Detect action
  3. Ascertain intent

This is necessary because until we see an outcome from the crime, even if that's just someone witnessing it, a crime cannot be judged to have occurred.

To understand the impact of of all of this it may be worth looking at taking the perspectives of the 3 groups in In search of no crime. Here's a table showing what part each group plays in the 6 events from above:

Detect outcome   
Detect action   
Ascertain intent   

How these different perspectives affect things is left to the reader.