The following vocabulary is useful for understanding and discussing types and degrees of crime.
NOTE: There are hundreds of different types of crime – the list below covers only the words we think will be most useful in your IELTS test!
- White collar crime – this refers to non-violent crimes done for money, generally by business and government professionals.
- Homicide – a more formal (legal) term for murder
- Larceny – a more formal (legal) term for theft
- Arson – setting fire to buildings or other property
- Embezzlement – taking money which the person has been trusted to look after (commonly when people steal money from the company they work for)
- Forgery – making illegal copies of official documents
- Fraud – to deceive (trick) someone for illegal gain
- Hate crime – a crime against a person because of a social group they are considered to belong to (could be race, colour, religion etc)
Degrees of crime
- Misdemeanour – A minor crime, punishable by a fine or a light jail term
- Felony [US English] – a crime punishable by death or imprisonment in excess of one year.
- Infraction – generally used to describe minor crimes when the law has been broken (e.g. riding a bicycle at night without lights – it’s breaking the law, but you’re not going to prison for it!)