A ‘Suitable Amount’ of Crime and a Cultural-Civilisational Approach

  • Jüri Saar
Keywords: Suitable amount of crime, cultural-civilisational approach, criminal careers, gender gap in crime, age–crime curve, dual taxonomy in criminal activity


The article presents the hypothesis that a normal level (e.g., optimal, reasonable, or suitable amount) of crime is an empirically measurable variable. Adequate assessment of crime in a specific civilisation is possible via comparison of crime across different civilisations. To this end, key elements for a cultural-civilisational approach, distinct from ‘cultural criminology’, are presented. In this approach, crime is an inevitable part of cultural phenomena, wherefore the definitions of crimes, punishments, and their execution manifest value specificities of individual cultures (civilisations). Three characteristics related to criminal careers – the ‘gender gap’, the ‘age–crime curve’, and a ‘dual taxonomy’, identified regularly by various studies are reviewed and interpreted anew.