Languages › English as a Second Language Vocabulary About Crime and Criminals Share Flipboard Email Print Tetra Images/Getty Images English as a Second Language Vocabulary Basic Conversations for English Language Learners Pronunciation & Conversation Writing Skills Reading Comprehension Grammar Business English Resources for Teachers By Kenneth Beare English as a Second Language (ESL) Expert TESOL Diploma, Trinity College London M.A., Music Performance, Cologne University of Music B.A., Vocal Performance, Eastman School of Music Kenneth Beare is an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher and course developer with over three decades of teaching experience. our editorial process Kenneth Beare Updated March 12, 2019 These words are used when talking about crime and criminals. Each word is placed in a related category and defined. Crime Types Assault: To hit/injure someone physically. Blackmail: To threaten to reveal incriminating materials if someone doesn't do something. Burglary: To steal or break into a home or car, etc. Fraud: A deception intended to result in financial or personal gain. Hijacking: Unlawfully seizing an aircraft, vehicle, or ship while in transit Hooliganism: Volent or rowdy behavior that occurs (typically) in crowds or gangs. Kidnapping: The act of abducting someone and holding them captive. Mugging: The act of attacking and robbing someone in a public place. Criminal Terms Mugger: A person who attacks and robs another in a public place. Murderer: A person who kills another person. Robber: A person who steals from another person. Shoplifter: A person who steals from a store. Smuggler: A person who imports/exports prohibited goods. Terrorist: A person who uses unlawful violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims. Thief: A person who steals. Vandal: A person who defaces property of another person. Justice System Terms Appeal: Asking for a reversal of the decision of a court. Barrister: A British term for a lawyer. Caution: Care taken to avoid danger or mistakes. Cell: An area considered a living space for inmates within a prison. Community service: Voluntary work intended to help people in a particular area. Court: Place where cases and legal matters are conducted. Court case: A dispute between two parties that is decided in a court of law. Death penalty: The punishment of execution. Defense: The case presented by or on behalf of the party being accused. Fine: The payment of money for being caught. Gaol, jail: The place where accused persons and criminals are held. Guilty: Found responsible for wrongdoing or an unlawful act. Imprisonment: The state of being imprisoned. Innocent: Not being guilty of a crime. Judge: An official appointed to decide cases in a court of law. Jury: A group of people (typically twelve in number) sworn to give a verdict in a legal case on the basis of evidence submitted in court. Justice: A judge or magistrate, or, the quality of fairness. Lawyer: Someone who practices or studies law. Offense: A breach of law/illegal act. Sentence: Length of time a prisoner is imprisoned. Prison: A building where people are legally held as a punishment for a crime they have committed or while awaiting trial. Probation: The release of an offender from detention, subject to a period of good behavior under supervision. Prosecution: The legal proceedings against someone in respect of a criminal charge. Punishment: The infliction or imposition of a penalty as retribution for an offense. Capital punishment: The legally authorized killing of someone as punishment for a crime. Corporal punishment: Physical punishment, such as caning or flogging. Remand home: Detention/reform school for juvenile offenders. Solicitor: An officer having charge of a legal business. Trial: A formal examination of evidence before a judge and/or jury, in order to decide guilt in a case of criminal or civil proceedings. Verdict: The legally binding decision on a case. Witness: A person who sees an event, typically a crime or accident, take place. Crime Verbs Arrest: To take someone into custody legally. Ban: To forbid or limit something. Break-in: To enter somewhere without consent or by force. Break-out: To leave somewhere without consent or by force. Break the law: To go against the law. Burgle: To enter (a building) illegally with the intent to commit theft. Charge: To accuse someone of an illegal act. Commit a crime: To do something illegal. Escape: To break free from confinement or control. Getaway: An escape or quick departure, especially after committing a crime. Get away with: To avoid prosecution for a criminal act. Hold up: To point a weapon at someone to make them give them money or a valuable good. Investigate: To look deeper into a matter and gather information about what happened. Rob: To take something forcefully from someone unwilling. Steal: To take (another person's property) without permission or legal right and without intending to return it. Other Crime-Related Words Alibi: A story given to explain that one was not near the location of a crime. Armed: To be in the possession of a firearm (gun). Burglar: Someone who steals from others, a thief. Car alarm: An alarm on a motor vehicle. Alarm: Loud noise meant to draw attention when disturbed. Legal: Pertaining to the law, on the right side of the law, allowed. Illegal: Against the law, criminal. Store detective: Someone who watches over a store to make sure people don't steal from it. Private detective: Someone who is hired to investigate a matter. Weapon: Something designed or used for inflicting bodily harm or physical damage.