Crime Doesn’t Pay. But It Sure Is Interesting.

Let’s face it: crime is interesting. We don’t want it to happen to anyone — it can be traumatic for everyone involved. But we sure do like learning about it. Why else would there be so many crime movies, crime TV shows and crime novels?

But Criminal Justice is about more than just chasing bad guys. It’s a serious academic discipline dedicated to understanding and deterring crime. And it can be a serious career. With the right criminology program, you too can get started in a career in Criminal Justice.

When you earn an Associate of Science in Criminal Justice at City College, your Criminal Justice courses will provide a strong foundation in the theory, procedures and ethics of corrections and crime prevention.

Our Criminal Justice courses will give you a comprehensive background in many facets of crime, including family violence, correctional systems, police strategies, juvenile delinquency, and crime scene analysis. You’ll learn about legal aspects of the criminal justice system, methods of research, understanding the criminal mind and the latest advances in technology.

They’ll provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to hit the ground running with an entry-level position in your Criminal Justice career.

Now here’s the part that most people don’t talk about. It’s a really interesting degree! Aside from learning about crime itself, the study of Criminal Justice involves so many other subjects: just to name a few, there’s:

  • Psychology,
  • Sociology,
  • History,
  • Chemistry,
  • Law and ethics
  • Computer science.

With that in mind, here is an in-depth look at three of City College’s most fascinating Criminal Justice courses.




What is crime? What causes it? And what’s the best way to stop it? These are the questions that criminology seeks to answer. It investigates crime from a social science perspective, looking into the nature and causes of crime — the who, what, when, where, why and how.

Criminology courses are extremely important, providing the foundation in the basic concepts of crime, law and Criminal Justice. Instructors may take somewhat different approaches, but most criminology courses will cover subjects like crime theory, crime typology and the criminal justice system in all its aspects — law enforcement, the court system, and the correctional system.

  • Crime theory attempts to explain the causes of crime. There are a lot of interesting theories, and as you can see, there may be some conflicting ideas or overlap:
  • Choice theory assumes that people make rational decisions, and therefore the right combination of risks and penalties will be enough to deter crime. In other words, “I can’t do the time, so I’m not going to steal that car.”
  • Trait theory looks at the traits that may cause people to become criminals. It investigates if there may be innate traits that lead to a life of crime, or if it’s behavioral — for instance if there’s an association between intelligence, learning and personality: “Nature and nurture led me to steal that car.”
  • The social structure theory investigates social or societal influences like poverty and the lack of education or marketable skills: “I stole that car because I grew up without any other way of earning money.”
  • Developmental theory focuses on patterns in criminal behavior. It looks at continuity and change in behavior over time — for instance, whether adolescent offenders continue a pattern of antisocial behavior into adulthood: “I stole cars when I was a kid. Now I’m a pharmacist.”

Criminology courses will provide an introduction to crime typology. This is the classifying of criminals or crimes to better understand how to deal with them in law enforcement, in the courts, and in the correctional system.

There are a ton of different ways of approaching crime typology. A criminologist might delineate between psychological or sociological factors to make sense of criminal behavior. For example, we’ve all heard of the insanity defense, which has an affect on sentencing — broadly speaking, mental illness is a typology. If you’re sane, you can be held responsible for your actions. If you’re mentally ill, you can’t. The criminal justice system has to be able to define and identify these typologies.

Crime typologies may also look at the type of crime. What are the similarities and differences between, say, a mugger and a pickpocket? What are the similarities and differences between embezzlers and insider traders? Figuring out the characteristics of the people who indulge in a particular type of crime can be a useful tool in prevention.

Finally, criminology courses discuss the criminal justice system in its entirety. It’s a complex system, involving law enforcement, the law, the courts and the correctional system. It can be really eye-opening to learn how the system actually deals with crime.

With all this material, you can see how a criminology course may provide the fundamentals for a degree — and then a career — in criminal justice.


Crime Scene Analysis

This is one of those criminal justice courses that will give you a new perspective on the crime scene investigators you see on TV. We’ve all seen an actor playing a cop pick up a gun with a handkerchief. These days, who carries a handkerchief? This is your chance to see how these fascinating procedures actually work in real life.

On TV, for example, crime scene investigations seem to be over in five minutes. But it’s amazing to consider how much patience and training you really need to be a crime scene investigator. It’s absolutely crucial to follow the right procedures and protocols when searching for evidence at a crime scene, and the same applies to the collecting and packaging of evidence. The rules are strict, and it’s no exaggeration to say that the integrity of the evidence can make the difference between convicting the bad guy or letting him walk!

How you analyze a crime scene depends on what you find there. Here are a few examples of the kinds of evidence that you’ll learn how to deal with in a criminology program:

  • Bodily fluids
  • Flammable liquids
  • Hair and fibers
  • Firearms and firearms evidence
  • Other weapons
  • Tool marks
  • Controlled substances
  • Fingerprints

When we talk about what a crime scene investigator does, we’re talking about forensics — using science and evidence to figure out who did it and what happened. Crime scene analysis is all about the details — which may be the most important lesson you’ll learn in City College’s criminology courses.


Computer Crime Investigation

One of the most interesting aspects of technology is its use in crime. With every new bit of technology there is almost invariably someone trying desperately to figure out how to commit a crime with it!

This is why computer crime, or cybercrime, is one of the biggest growth areas in the world of criminal justice. Every year, billions of dollars around the world are lost to cyber attacks. Who’s to blame? It could be a hacker looking to cause trouble, or the surprisingly common crime of corporate spying. It could be a common thief looking to get his hands on your passwords in order to drain your bank account.

For these reasons, Computer Crime Investigation is an important part of criminology programs. This course in particular teaches the nuts and bolts of investigating computer crime — from how to recover and analyze digital evidence to the legal and technical issues.

When it comes to Criminal Justice courses, this one is not only fascinating. It is becoming more and more important.


About City College’s Criminology Program

Whether you want to work in law enforcement, homeland security, immigration, forensics or other areas, City College offers a solid foundational criminal justice degree program.

When you graduate and launch your career as a criminal justice professional, your opportunities may include positions at state and local law enforcement organizations. You may also consider federal agencies such as the FBI, Homeland Security or the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

If you earn an Associate of Science in Criminal Justice from City College, you can get started on so many different careers. You may work in the correctional system as a Corrections Officer, . You might work in retail in loss prevention or security. With its emphasis on judicial precedents and analytical thinking, this program is also a good preparation for law school! The critical thinking skills that our Criminal Justice courses provide may make you an attractive candidate to all kinds of employers.

For more detailed information on this program, see our Academic Catalog.

*Learn more about the Criminal Justice Program offered in Florida at our Gainesville campus by clicking the “Start Today” button below!