What is the difference between crime, deviance, sin, and vice? Do you believe that crime is one of the major social problems in Pakistani society? Discuss.

Differnce between crime, deviation

CSS Solved Criminology Past Papers | What is the difference between crime, deviance, sin, and vice? Do you believe that crime is one of the major social problems in Pakistani society? Discuss.

The following question is attempted by Sobia Kausar, the top scorer in CSS Criminology paper. Moreover, the answer is written on the same pattern, taught by Sir to his students, scoring the highest marks in compulsory subjects for years. This solved past paper question is uploaded to help aspirants understand how to crack a topic or question, how to write relevantly, what coherence is, and how to include and connect ideas, opinions, and suggestions to score the maximum.

Question Breakdown

                     In this question, the examiner has asked two things to explain. Firstly, elucidate the difference between crime, deviance, sin, and vice by giving suitable definitions with the help of criminological jargon. Further, as Pakistan is facing multiple social problems nowadays, the examiners want your opinion that crime is one of the major social problems in Pakistani society. If you agree with this statement, then you must have to raise at least 8 to 10 arguments with valid and relevant evidence and vice versa. Moreover, If you want to fetch a good score in criminology, then it is pertinent to apply relevant theories so that your question gets maximum weightage and fetches you good marks. Furthermore, I have written a comprehensive and brief outline and solved the question to help you break such questions down, deal with them, and attempt them on paper. If you read it carefully, you will know how I scored the highest marks on the paper.


1- Introduction
2- Understanding the difference between crime, deviance, sin, and vice
3- How is crime one of the major social problems in Pakistani society?

  • Unemployment
  • Poverty
  • Role of media
  • Urbanization
  • Out-of-school children and broken families
  • Weak role of state institutions
  • Association with other delinquents
  • White-collar crimes

4- Conclusion


In any society, where people are living, have to face some kind of illegal activities, which are usually named according to their specified definition. Although crime, sin, vice, and deviance are the two sides of the same coin yet, there lies a minor difference between them. As far as crime is concerned, it is considered one of the major social problems of Pakistani society because it is imposing negative impacts on society, whether it is related to theft which renders the public deprived of their valuable property or murders, which lets families lose their loved ones. It is also affecting government departments that lose their capable workers who are working brilliantly in a community. Thus, it affects all of society in a negative way.

Understanding the difference between crime, deviance, sin, and vice


             Any action or omission which constitutes an offence and is punishable by the law of the country is called a crime.


                  Deviance is the socially disapproved behaviour of the masses in society.

According to the above-mentioned definitions, the major difference is that

Refers to the violation of rule and lawRefers to the violation of social rules, norms, and conventions
It is always punishable by lawIt usually results in stigma and social stigma.
It is viewed as immoral in societyIt may be viewed as immoral in one society
On the other hand, it is considered normal in other society
For example
Robbery, Murder etc
For example:
Walking with shoes in a holy place such as a mosque
Smoking in public etc
Table by Sobia Kausar

 However, crime and deviance are used interchangeably because, in some cases, deviance often results in criminal behaviours.

Image Source: Google


          Sin is a religious concept that refers to an act that violates the divine law.


         Vice refers to a habit, behaviour or action that is considered immoral, unethical, or harmful.

The major difference between sin and vice is that:

Sin is the wrongdoing of divine laws, which  are mentioned in the Holy Books  Vice is any undesirable action that provides harm to the person which is involved in it
Often seen as a moral failing or a weaknessRefers to character flaws like greed, envy, lust, or anger.
Sin has the power to corrupt the soul and can lead to eternal damnation.Has a negative impact on a person’s relationship, health, and well-being and can also lead to legal, financial, or social consequences.
For Example
Shirk is the greatest sin in Islam
For Example:
Prostitution, drinking etc.
Table by Sobia Kausar

Most vices are considered sins, but not all. It depends on the state. For example, prostitution is legal in the USA, but in Pakistan, it is a sin.

Picture Source: Google

Crime is considered one of the social problems in Pakistani society

Crime is considered one of the major social problems of Pakistan society because every social problem like unemployment, high rate of urbanization, poverty etc., in the end, ultimately leads to the committing of crime in order to meet that need. Let us discuss below how crime is a social problem in Pakistani society.

  • Unemployment

Out of many factors, unemployment is number one. Due to unemployment, individuals are unable to meet their needs. In order to fulfil their basic needs, people do commit crimes. The positive association between crimes and unemployment is observed by Ehrlich(1973). He mentioned that unemployment is an indicator of income opportunities from the legal sector. Also, according to Strain theory, crime occurs when people do not have legitimate opportunities for people to achieve normal success goals in society.  So, if there is an increase in the unemployment rate, then the involvement of people in the legal sector also decreases.

  • Poverty

A great deal of recent studies has demonstrated that poverty is associated with high rates of crime. It is not wrong to say that poverty is the mother of crime. According to Shaw an Mckay neighbourhood with the highest incidence of crime rates have at least three common problems: Poverty, physical dilapidation and ethnic and cultural mixing. They claimed that delinquency was not caused at the individual level, but is a normal response by normal individuals to abnormal conditions. The United Nations’ world cities report named Karachi’s Orangi town, home to around 2.4 million people, as the largest among the world’s five biggest slums. The crime rate in Pakistan due to poverty, as reported by the National Police Bureau, and Ministry of Interior, has been increasing at a rate of 12.2% from the 2012 – 2018 reported time-frame

Picture Source: Google

In light of this data, one must say that crime is a major problem in Pakistani society.

  • Role of Media

Despite showing a positive image of society, the media has also played a significant role in promoting crime among the masses. There is a number of ways through which media is promoting crime. For example; by transferring criminal techniques, advertisement stimulates the desire to get unaffordable goods. This is what Albert Bandura proposed in his theory (Learning Theory). Taking the influence of these mean, people often commit crimes in society, as is also happening in Pakistani society.

  • Out of School children and Broken Families

There are a number of schools of thought that proposed the primary reasons behind juvenile delinquency. However; the main factors that contribute towards crime are broken homes, children who are not loved at their homes but, in fact, abused, neglected and impoverished, and are more likely to fall prey to delinquency. According to the Social Disorganization Theory of Shaw and McKay; a person’s physical and social environment is primarily responsible for the behavioural choices that a person makes. Pakistan is a developing country due to the abundance of socio-economic conditions; the crime web is also entangling its youth to commit crimes. The stats of juveniles’ living status in Pakistan are as follows

Picture Source: Google

It backups the concept of why crime is a major problem in Pakistan    

  • Weak Role of State Institutions

The crime rate is increasing in Pakistan rapidly because of the socio-economic conditions and deterioration of social institutions and other by ineffective criminal justice. Pakistan is a heterogeneous developing society undergoing a metamorphosis, where the state still has a weak writ of governance required to ensure the rule of law and democratic values. The criminal justice system is contaminated by corruption, political intervention, and a low level of capacity building. The policies of the justice system are based on a product of a whimsical approach to leadership rather than research. For this reason, people are more encouraged to commit crimes for their potential benefit.  

  • Affiliation with other delinquents

Due to the lack of availability of sufficient prisons according to the severity of the crime, criminals are more often put in the same compartments. Apart from this, the influence of delinquent friends on people’s own engagement in criminal activities is generally explained by the differential association theory by Edwin Sutherland. According to this theory, friends shape each other’s behaviour primarily through the transmission of values, behavioural models, and social reinforcement. Akers elucidated on Sutherland’s theory by stating that individuals learn behaviour by observing and imitating that of others, and people become offenders via social interaction with others already involved in crime.

  • Urbanization

Urbanization is the shifting in employment from rural to urban areas. Moreover, urbanization is an indicator of industrial development in an economy. According to United Nations Development Program, Pakistan has the highest rate of urbanization in South Asia, with 36.4 percent population living in urban areas. Big cities are crowded with the highest rate of crime because it is easier to hide from law enforcement agencies in cities. In search of a better lifestyle, people in Pakistan are rapidly shifting from rural areas to urban areas. Becker presented a model in which he argued that a person will commit a crime if the expected utility of crime is more than the utility he could get from consuming his time in some other legal activities. People in urban areas have been urged to get luxurious life like others in society, so, acquiring that luxury in a short span without work can only be obtained from committing a crime. That’s what they do. The statistics of the crime rate in Karachi in the year 2021 to 2022 is given below.

  • White Collar Crimes  

Pakistani society is badly affected by white-collar crimes. White-collar crimes are usually committed by higher officials. Although these crimes are non-violent, they have a negative impact on the country’s economy. In developing countries like Pakistan, these crimes are frequent. According to a UN report: Rs. 10 billion in corruption has been reported in Pakistan each year. Pakistan continues to be a haven for dirty money mainly due to loose and slack White collar criminal laws. This situation is very alarming in a poverty-stricken country like Pakistan.

Picture Source: Google


Due to the low-quality socio-economic conditions of Pakistan where people find it hard to meet their basic needs because of the limited resources. In that society, each below-average social factor leads towards crime. This is the reason why crime is considered one of the major social problems of Pakistan because every other social problem gives birth to crime. Although the situation is quite alarming; however, through a pragmatic approach, these issues can be resolved.

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