Common topics in criminology courses are the history of criminology, prediction and prevention of crime, white collar crime and victimology. A student of criminology also learns theories, vocabulary and research analysis of the overall subject in order to gain insight into how to approach the issues in today's world.
Prediction and prevention of crime is an important topic. It is not enough to solve and punish crime after it occurs. Instead, ideally the ultimate goal of criminology is to recognize warning signs and stop crime before it happens.
An interesting category of criminology is the study of white collar crime. This topic includes learning what constitutes such a crime, perpetrators and victims, the cost to individuals and society, and the prosecution and penalties of these crimes. Often, the perpetrators are not the typical type of lawbreakers, and this fact frequently makes investigations and prosecution more difficult.
Understanding the crime victim is a crucial part of criminology. Investigators and prosecutors must learn the proper way to work with victims to prevent losing their cases altogether. Particularly vulnerable are the victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. These victims are less likely to come forward in the first place and can have a difficult time testifying. Criminologists also need to learn what resources are available to help victims.
The history of criminology traces the topic back to its origins in the roots of sociology and psychology. Intensive study of criminals and criminal behavior led to the study of criminology as a unique entity.