Against the law:

If you do something illegal (= wrong / against the law), then you have committed a crime. Most people commit a crime at some time in their lives, e.g. driving above the speed limit, parking illegally, stealing sweets from a shop when they were children, etc.


Crime prevention:

What can governments do to fight crime (= take action to stop crime)? These things happen in some countries, although many people may think they are not a good idea.

Police carry (= have) guns.
Police are allowed to (= are permitted to) stop anyone in the street and question them.
The courts give tougher punishments for crimes committed than in the past (e.g. bigger fines or longer prison sentences than in the past).
There is capital punishment (= death, e.g. by electric chair or hanging) for some crimes. What can individuals do to prevent a crime from happening (= stop a crime happening)? Here are things some people do to protect themselves and their property (= home and land), although you may not think they are all a good idea.
Don’t walk along dark streets late at night (e.g. midnight) on your own (= alone).
Lock all doors and windows when you go out.
Don’t wear expensive jewellery.
Leave lights on at home when you go out.
Fit (= install) a burglar alarm (= a machine which makes a noise if someone enters your home).
Make sure your money is safe, e.g. wear a money belt.
Carry a mace spray. (This is a chemical and if you spray it in someone’s face, it is very unpleasant. In some countries you are allowed to carry this type of spray.)
Put money and valuables (= valuable possessions) in a safe (= a strong metal box, which is very difficult to open or br
Keep a gun in your house for self-defence (= to protect yourself if a safe someone attacks you).