Crime vs Deviance: Difference and Comparison

Laws, punishments, society, and norms are terms that every individual is familiar with. Along with these come thefts, murders, crimes, and deviances.


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Crime is a term that often comes across, but are we aware of the term deviance?

Crime and deviance are two terms used for different violations of norms or laws. Based on the scenario and severity, the violations can be called crime and deviance.

Key Takeaways

  1. The crime involves engaging in behaviours that violate established laws and are subject to legal penalties; deviance encompasses actions or behaviours that diverge from social norms or expectations without necessarily being illegal.
  2. Crimes are defined by a legal framework and enforced by law enforcement agencies and courts; cultural, social, and moral expectations within a specific group or society determine deviance.
  3. Crime has clear legal consequences, such as fines, imprisonment, or other penalties; deviance may result in social disapproval, stigma, or exclusion but is not punishable by law.

Crime vs. Deviance

The difference between Crime and Deviance is that while crime is the violation of laws documented in the form of judicial norms, deviance is the violation of norms, social rules, and convictions that are not recorded or documented.

Crime vs Deviance

Crime is the violation of laws set by the constitution and the country’s government. One cannot see a change in their laws because it involves a lot of procedures and several permissions.

The judicial system and police force control them.

Deviance can be stated as violating the norms, social rules, and convictions. These are open to face changes and also differ from society to society.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonCrimeDeviance
MeaningViolating the laws set by the constitution of the country.Violating the norms, social rules, and convictions.
Nature of lawIt is the same throughout a country or a region.It can change from society to society and face changes in between.
ControlAgent of control is the judicial system and police force.Agent of control is social organizations or groups.
PowerGovernment has powers to deal with or tackle the crime.Society only has coercive powers.
OffenderReceives legal sanctions depending on the severity of the crime.The offender is mortified.  
DocumentationProper documentation is available in the form of a constitution.No documentation is present.
ResultAppropriate punishments according to the judicial system.Negative comments from society.

What is Crime?

Crime is a violation of the laws and regulations set by the government. They cannot be changed as they are documented under the judicial system.

They are set for an entire country or kingdom.

Crime can be of two types: felonies and misdemeanors. They are categorized based on the severity of the crime committed.

The more serious crimes, such as rape and murder, are classified as felonies. At least severe ones like theft are considered a misdemeanor.

Crime can result in the offender receiving a legal sanction and punishment as written in the constitution or the law. The judicial system and police force control them.

Criminology is the specific study of crimes and the individuals who commit a crime. They can help the police force view a crime from the right perspective to catch the guilty.


What is Deviance?

Deviance is the violation of society’s rules, social norms, and convictions. They also include behaviors that are not accepted by society.

Since they change from society to society, it is not necessary to documentations, and is open to facing more changes. This also means if it is considered deviant in one society, it could be accepted as normal in another.

Deviances are of two types: formal and informal. Since they are also based on the severity of the deviance, they also have different punishments.

Formal deviance is punishable by law, while informal results in being mortified.

They can result in being cast out by society or receiving negative comments. While crimes like murder and theft are included in deviance, necessary manners like nose-picking are also included.

It can be noted from this that crimes and deviance can overlap.


Main Differences Between Crime and Deviance

  1. The main difference between crime and deviance is the meaning. While crime is the violation of rules and laws set by the government, deviance is the violation of rules, social norms, and convictions.
  2. The laws whose violations result in a crime cannot be changed. They cannot face any change because it is for a whole country, whereas norms and rules of deviance vary from society to society.
    This also means that these rules and norms can be changed as well.
  3. The agents of control for these two violations are also different. While the judicial system and police force control crime rates, deviance is controlled by social organizations or groups.
  4. The power to punish these violations is also exercised differently. Society has coercive power to control deviance. Government has the power to deal with or tackle crimes and crime rates.
  5. The offenders are also treated differently. On committing deviance, the offenders are shunned from society and are mortified.
    But in the case of crime, the offender receives legal sanction depending on the severity of the crime committed.
  6. Legal documentation is seen in the case of laws and controlling of crimes. Social norms and conventions do not have documentation.
    Since they can change from society to society, it does not require documentation.
  7. The result of the two violations is also different. While crime results in the appropriate punishment according to the judicial system, deviance results in negative comments from society.
Difference Between Crime and Deviance
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