Criminology is the scientific study of crime and its causes, which includes interventions to prevent and contain crime, as well as lessen its consequences.
Within criminological research significant weight is given, in part, to the understanding of how the interaction between individual, contextual and societal processes cause crime and related problems, whilst other areas address how work within crime prevention and insecurity can become knowledge-based. The research integrates theory and the empirical, and forms the basis for theory development and its application within areas designated to prevent and react to crime. The subject is interdisciplinary, which implies the collection and integration of theoretical and methodological concepts, and also applications from different knowledge fields.
The research covers an array of different questions that, on the whole, falls into four areas of focus. Within these subsequent areas there exist practical and applied elements.
The development of crime and its causes
On the whole, this research area aims to develop knowledge about which factors cause some children and adolescents in certain environments to develop into offending or other problems. This area studies how factors within different levels (e.g. individual, family, neighbourhood) interact to explain the differences in crime involvement, but also mental ill health, exposure to crime, insecurity and drug abuse. An important part of this area is longitudinal research, where we can follow the course of development over time in order to contribute to theory development about crime and its causes.
The geographical variation of criminality and insecurity
Research within this area deals with the identification of frameworks to confront the geographical variation of criminality and insecurity, as well as how we can explain why certain places and neighbourhoods have more problems with crime and insecurity than others. A central part of this research contributes to knowledge about how we can break from negative patterns and what we can do to contribute to positive community development.
Victimology is the scientific study of crime victims and perspectives on crime victims in society. This area studies, for example, hate crime, crime against minority groups and other vulnerable groups, as well as violence against women. Vulnerability is studied from different perspectives, but together explores the contexts and individual factors like social contexts, ethnicity, gender and age.
Prevention and intervention research
Prevention research aims to increase knowledge about how we can best prevent crime and other related problems. Research within this area is conducted to create a knowledge base in support of interventions and expand prevention programs, but also to evaluate crime prevention or drug/alcohol abuse interventions. This research has a broad focus, extending from early interventions in childhood and adolescence to interventions that apply to criminal groups, individuals or specific vulnerable neighbourhoods.