The future of Criminology


Criminology is an evolving field of study. With developments in the overall society, the nature and effects of crime have also changed. Criminology, if it has to respond to the changing times must evolve its theories and its methodologies, to make itself relevant to the Justice Delivery System. If done correctly it would enhance the effectiveness of the methods and would also open up new opportunities for criminologists. If criminology does not change, it will not be able to survive with the time and would succumb to the advancements. Here in this article, we would be dealing with various aspects of Criminology and how could it be evolved to sustain itself in the future.

What is Criminology?

The word Criminology is originally formed by joining two Ancient Greek words krino meaning “accusation” and logos meaning “reason,” or “study”. Therefore, on a bare understanding of the root words, we may concur that the term means the “study of accusation”. To be more precise, Criminology deals with the scientific study of the nature, extent, prevention and every other aspect of criminal behaviour both on a macro and micro level. It is an interdisciplinary field and therefore draws subject matters from sociology, psychology, psychiatry, biology, with the base of Law.

The term Criminology was coined by Italian law professor Raffaele Garofalo in 1885 but during that time it did not receive the spotlight. Later by the efforts of French anthropologist Paul Topinard criminology came into the mainstream. During the initial days of its inception, it emphasised on the reform of criminal law and not on the causes of crime. The first textbook which specifically dealt with criminology was written in 1920 by American sociologist Maurice Parmalee under the title “Criminology”, and with this, it made its way into the justice delivery system.

Who are Criminologists and what do they do?

Essentially Criminologists are the people who work and research in the field of criminology. They have an interdisciplinary outlook towards crime and look for various aspects such as behavioural patterns, psychology and the like to understand a particular crime or criminal. These people like any other researcher conduct researches and investigations, thereby making theories and results, which are not always aimed at getting a solution.

The job of a Criminologist includes the study of nature of crime and criminals, etymology of crime, a crime’s impact on society as a whole, and how laws could be developed to facilitate the prevention of crimes. Based on this, criminology can be divided into 3 channels of works which are: a) Investigation of a Crime, b) Finding the cause of crime, thereby understand the criminals and c) To devise measures to prevent a crime and fill-up loopholes which are existing in the criminal law.

How does Criminology help the legal system?

The field of Criminology has made improvements in almost the entire justice delivery system. It had changed a human being’s response to crime which has in turn drastically affected both victims and criminals. It helps us to better understand crime, its cause and its effect on society as a whole.

It has led to the establishment of more specialized areas, like environmental criminology which has brought advancements in police tactics, community-oriented policing and the like.

It attempts to explain why certain events are considered a crime in certain societies and not in the others thereby establishing a jurisprudence for the betterment of law. Through this, it also establishes the difference between cultures and societies, legal and illegal and so on.

Criminology includes the study of several different theories like classical, positivist etc. which helps us understand why crimes are committed. Through its various theories, it suggests that people commit crimes either when they perceive a benefit or through internal and external factors which include biological factors or social factor. All of this helps the legislators and the judiciary to understand a crime more exhaustively thereby laying much more effective laws.

It gives to us the logical way of crime prevention which is to provide harsher punishments for crimes based upon its gravity. By making punishments logically more harsher criminals will know the possible consequences of their acts which would, in turn, reduce the crime rate.

Another avenue of Criminology, i.e., Criminal psychology helps us to understand crime and criminals by understanding crime and what was the mentality behind it.

In totality, Criminology helps us to understand crime and criminals more deeply. It states that human has the ability to make decisions and therefore if he/she breaks a law, he/she is liable to be punished. It emphasizes the sternness of the criminal justice system which can help prevent crimes. It also equips the judiciary to take practical measures to understand and establish laws against crimes. It also gives the society an idea of why crimes happen and how can they be prevented.

Through all these ways Modern Criminology helps us understand the root causes of crime and gives us the best way to address and prevent it, thereby also aiding the justice delivery system.

Future of Criminology

Change is all around us and the field of Criminology is also not untouched by the same. The criminal justice system has adopted the latest technologies to be a step before the criminals. Technology and law go hand in hand to keep up with the moving times. Modern technologies such as in the field of forensic sciences give great strength to the field of criminology which helps deter crime to a great extent.

The field of Criminology has evolved and incorporated Ballistic fingerprinting in forensic studies which aims to link the scratches and dents in bullet casings with the guns that fired them. This could help in solving crimes wherein the offender is unknown and the evidence are extremely limited.

There are numerous frameworks in criminology which extend their strategies to the future as well with advancements. These techniques will make criminal equity framework run more viably. One of such frameworks could be DNA Indexing System which is majorly utilized in India and have the greatest prospects of evolution in the future with advancements in the overall technologies.

Spyware is a term utilized for tools that gather individual data thereby by risking an individual’s privacy. Criminology with the advancements of science and technologies and with the advent of Artificial Intelligence can advance in these fields. In India, as of now, there are no strict laws in relation to CyberCrime and this is why this field need major uplift so as to protect people from major cyber threats in the future.

Electronic innovation is changing at a rapid rate and therefore law enforcement agencies also need to remain at par with such advancements. This could only be done by bringing in major revamps in the methodologies of crime control which is dealt with by the field of Criminology. Enhanced GPS beacons and biometric IDs could be the initial steps to bring in major revolutions in this field. Facial Recognition Device and Iris Scan could be made an essential tool of recognizing people which would be the most effective tool for the same altogether.

Therefore, it could be said that in the future by utilizing the technological innovations, criminology could greatly be evolved which in turn would give a whole new direction to the justice delivery system of the nation.


Criminology has now started to work hand in hand with modern-day Scientific and Technological innovations. This is just the starting point of our way towards the future and this solely depends on our law’s adaptability with the present advancements. Our legislators should try making laws with the help of Criminologists which are future-ready and are open to accepting changes as per the conditions required. In the future, Innovation will be utilized by laws in ways never envisioned and therefore Indian Criminology needs to be future-ready. It is only through the modern innovations that the field of Criminology can move on further and developed into the methodology that could be envisioned to aid the nation’s justice system at every front.

Edited by Shikhar Shrivastava

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje


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I am Pratyush Pandey, a law student from the Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala. I am the third generation in my family to be in the legal academia and aspire to serve the legal fraternity. As of now, I have an interest in the field of Constitutional and Family Law. Also, I have a great interest in writing, mooting and speedcubing.