Have your ever been the victim of a crime?
Have you ever witnessed a crime?
Have you ever committed a crime?
The world of crime has much specialised vocabulary. On this page you will learn the meaning of the verbs, nouns and adjectives which we associate with crime.
This should help you to understand newspaper and TV news reports on crime.
Crime (noun) is any illegal action or activity. For example, killing your boss is a crime (even if he is a terrible person)!
Crime is never used as a verb. We say 'commit a crime'. Commit is the verb that collocates with 'crime': It basically means 'do'.
'He was sent to prison for a crime that he didn't commit.'
A person who commits a crime is a criminal:
'A dangerous criminal escaped from prison.'
Criminal is also used as an adjective:
'There is a lot of criminal activity in this area.'
Rob (verb) means take something from a place or person.
'Rob a bank.' Money is taken from the bank, not the whole thing.
'Rob and old man.' Valuable items are taken from him, we do not take him.
Steal (verb) means to take something.
'I stole candy when I was a child.'
'My bag was stolen at the party.'
Steal = present tense / stole = past simple / stolen = past participle
Theft is the noun form for the verb steal.
A thief is the general name we give to someone who steals something.
Arson - the crime of starting a fire in order to damage or destroy something, especially a building.
Arsonist – a person who starts fires to damage or destroy something
Bank robbery (noun) – the crime of stealing money from a bank.
Bank robber – the person who steals from a bank.
Rob – verb
Burglary (noun) – the crime of stealing from a building.
Burglar – a person who steals from a building.
Manslaughter (noun) - the crime of killing a person by someone who did not intend to do it or who cannot be responsible for their actions.
Murder (noun) – the crime of killing someone.
Murderer – a person who kills.
Murder – verb
Mugging (noun) – an act of attacking someone and stealing their money.
Mugger – the person who attacks someone to steal their money.
Mug – verb
Shoplifting (noun) – taking something from a shop without paying for it.
Shoplifter – a person who steals from shops.
Shoplift - verb
Smuggling (noun) - the act of taking things or people to or from a place secretly and illegally.
Smuggler – the person who takes things or people to or from a place secretly and illegally.
Smuggle - verb
Pickpocketing (noun) – the act of stealing things out of pockets or bags secretly.
Pickpocket - a person who steals things out of pockets or bags secretly.
Pickpocket - verb
Victim – a person who a crime happens to.
'The criminal stole the victim's car.'
Witness – a person who saw a crime happen.
'Many witnesses saw the bank robber leaving the bank.'