Criminology, criminology and cybercriminology? What is this and how do they differ?

By Thomas-Gabriel Rüdiger

Criminology and criminalistics are two different fields of activity

Criminology does not deal with a single concrete criminal offence in order to convict a perpetrator – that is the task of criminology. This includes, for example, the securing of evidence and forensics and so on. One also thinks of TV shows like CSI Miami or Sherlock Holmes, these are classic criminologists.

Criminology questions and investigates the causes of crime

Criminology, on the other hand, essentially investigates socially deviant behaviour and, in particular, crime. However, not all deviant behaviour is criminal – sometimes it is simply deviating from the social norm.

Crime and its causes are always subject to social and legal conditions. Criminology therefore considers the perpetrators, victims and also the environment in which crime is generated.

When and where crime takes place and under what conditions, criminology tries to find concrete answers to these questions. These findings should help to understand under which conditions offences arise.

From criminology and cybercriminology

The previous findings of criminology cannot simply be transferred unreflectively to the behaviour and manifestations in digital space. They need to be revised and adapted. In the digital space, crimes can be committed without the physical presence of both perpetrator and victim. A great challenge!

Sometimes completely new theories or insights and approaches have to be found

It therefore seems reasonable that with cybercriminology a new branch of criminology, which has only begun to develop hesitantly in recent years, should be established. I believe that cybercriminology will become one of the most important disciplines in criminology, as its findings can have an impact on a wide range of social issues.

From school media education, criminal policy and criminal law to business and, of course, police work.


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