Criminals can broadly be classified into violent and non-violent offenders. The violent ones either threaten you with a weapon and/or words and may follow up with some form of physical aggression. Other violent offenders may vandalize property or break into private property violently and proceed to steal but they are not considered violent offenders.
Non-violent offenders will frequently steal your money and/or property with deception, fraudulent means, or physically without much force.
The violent offenders frequently go to jail if they are caught but the non-violent offenders may be so clever and deceptive that their crime goes undetected for a long duration. Bernie Madoff is just one example of a very clever white collar criminal who stole billions of dollars for a long duration before he got caught with his Ponzi scheme.
Drug offenders both users and pushers are clogging the court system. Drug dealers with much money frequently get light sentences or plea bargain to a lower charge when they are caught making the problem even worse with no respect for the legal system.
As is frequently the case in this country, if you have much money and great lawyers then you can sometimes get away with crime with little or no jail time and minimum fines. This is especially true of bank and corporate fraud which is infrequently prosecuted to the full extent of the law if at all.
Recidivism is rather high or about two thirds return to jail within a five year period. It appears that the prison system is effective in taking criminals off the streets but not very effective in teaching them a lesson or rehabilitating them.
In 2012 the arrest rate 4165 per 100,000 population was about six times the incarceration rate in California so it seems that only about one sixth of those arrested go to jail. Almost 5% of the population get arrested for some crime or suspicion of crime and some perhaps more than once.
About a 33% of black males enter the federal prison system during their lifetime compared to about 6% for whites and about 17% for Hispanics. One can conclude that the poorer you are with dysfunctional families and a bad education the more likely you are to commit crimes because a realistic reliable job is not an option in many cases.
The common crimes are assault and battery, domestic violence, driving crimes, drug crimes, fraud, theft, and sex crimes.
Worldwide the United States has the highest incarceration rate or 716 per 100,000 population or close to 1% and India has one of the lowest or 30 per 100,000 or .0003 %.
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