Free crime stories essays and papers



In the first two chapters of this four-chapter section, we looked at the practical aspects of reporting crime. Here we suggest how to lớn write about crime effectively và also avoid some of the pitfalls of poor writing. In the final chapter we will discuss the ethics of crime reporting.

Bạn đang xem: Free crime stories essays and papers


Once you have gathered enough information, start writing the story in the usual inverted pyramid style, with the most important details in the first paragraph, backed-up by more information và ending in the least important facts or comments.

Know your limits

If someone has been charged with an offence or is about khổng lồ be charged, you are limited in what you can say so that you vì chưng not prejudice the chance of a fair trial. That does not mean that you must say nothing about the crime, but it does mean that you should only report those details which will not be contested in court, keeping out personal opinions.

If no-one has been arrested & charged, you can say much more, always bearing in mind that you could be sued for defamation by anyone involved if you bởi not stichồng to lớn the truth.

In many crime stories, once you have sầu told the most important details in your first few paragraphs, you will want to lớn tell the story in chronological order (the order in which things happened). You should already have gathered plenty of information, so now lead your reader or listener step-by-step through the sự kiện, explaining things in detail where necessary. Your story may look something lượt thích the following:

Thieves used a bulldozer to break inlớn a thành phố bank & steal almost a million dollars from the vault. The manager và one cashier were injured in the raid on the National Bank in Hibiscus Street, but they have now been released from hospital. Police say they are still looking for the bulldozer. The bulldozer was stolen from a nearby building site at lunchtime yesterday & driven straight at the bank. Staff and customers inside were horrified when the machine crashed through the front wall and inlớn the manager"s office. Two men in blaông chồng masks threatened them with knives while two others attached a heavy chain khổng lồ the vault door and tore it open with the bulldozer. "It was amazing," said customer Fred Harang. "They opened the safe lượt thích a tin of fish." etc.

The main facts are established in the first three paragraphs, then the story is told in the order in which things happened. Right at the end you can give sầu more details about the missing bulldozer, in case any readers spot it:

Police say the yellow bulldozer, with the name Crushcorp on the side, was last seen being driven down Oregano Street.

The police may also ask you lớn give sầu a telephone number through which people can give them information. You should get this approved by your editor. Radio stations are less likely to use such an appeal partly because their stories have sầu to lớn be kept shorter than a newspaper"s & partly because a number read once on air is not likely to be remembered by listeners anyway. Television stations may be able to lớn show the number on the screen during the story. However you vì it, keep any appeals short & factual:

Anyone who has any information about the bulldozer or the robbers can liên hệ the police on 652111.

Features và background stories

Crime reporting can be dull if all you bởi is record what has happened and when it happened - dull for you and for your readers or listeners. You can add interest for everyone with background reports and features. These can be done when you have some spare time between news stories or while awaiting further developments in continuing cases.

The simplest background stories for crime reporters are general features about crime. By these we mean features (or current affairs programs) on such things as the rise in burglaries; why psychologists think more rapes happen in hot weather; how people can protect their homes from thieves during the holidays; a new course in self-defence for women.

The work of the police often provides material for features. You could, for example, write a feature on a police dog training school; you might want khổng lồ interview the new police commissioner about his attitude khổng lồ crime; you could spend a day in the life of the drug squad or the harbour police. All of these will help your readers or listeners to underst& crime và the police in context in society.

A word of warning here: you may also want to write a feature by spending a day with a criminal gang. Rethành viên two things: (a) you could be in danger in their hands và (b) you could be breaking the law by accompanying them on a job. We discuss the ethics of this shortly.

You can also write background feature about specific cases. Once you have reported about the murder of a lonely widow, you may want khổng lồ produce a longer, in-depth report about her, interviewing relatives, neighbours, social workers & other elderly people, lớn discover how she lived and why she died. This helps people to lớn underst& their society and maybe avoid similar tragedies.

If someone has been charged with a crime, you will be too limited in what you can say about the crime, the accused or the victim to produce a feature or documentary. This should not, however, stop you preparing material for a special feature or programme, lớn be run once the trial is over. If the accused is found guilty, your feature can explain all the background lớn the case và the lives of the victims & the criminal. If a not guilty verdict is reached, you may still be able lớn write a feature on the angle that the police must keep on looking for the person who actually committed the crime. Because people can be cleared by courts even though they actually committed the crime, you should take advice from your editor & reliable experts before using this angle in a feature.


Always try lớn think of ways of illustrating your crime stories. A good picture is worth a thous& words & a simple diagram can save readers struggling through lines of text of mô tả tìm kiếm. For example, if you are reporting on an armed raid on a bank, ask your artist to lớn draw a picture of the inside of the bank, showing how the thieves entered, held up the staff, shot a guard then made their escape. If the police have retrieved the gun, get a picture of it for the page. Use a Photofit picture if the police are sure that it is a good likeness of the wanted person. (See Chapter 46: News pictures.)

^^baông xã lớn the top

Language in writing crime stories

We cannot bức xúc enough the need for care & accuracy when reporting anything khổng lồ vị with crime và the courts. Accuracy must extkết thúc all the way through your work, including the words you use when writing your stories, whether for news, features or current affairs.

You must select each word in your story carefully then, when you think you have finished, you must go bachồng to lớn the beginning & read it through, checking again.

The police, criminals and the courts use speciamenu terms, some of them technical in nature, some of them short forms & some of them slang. You should only ever use them for two reasons: (a) for precision if no alternative is available & (b) for added colour.

Legal terms

The exact wording of charges causes most problems for starting journalists. You must always use the correct terms. For example, there is a clear legal distinction between murdermanslaughter. Murder is a killing planned in advance; manslaughter is a killing done on the spur of the moment, without any planning, or by accident. To complicate matters, some legal systems divide killings inkhổng lồ three - wilful murder, which is planned in advance khổng lồ kill someone; murder, when someone plans to physically harm the victim và the victim actually dies; và manslaughter, which is an unintentional killing which arises from any unlawful activity.

You must not choose your own terms. Whatever the police or courts call the offence, that is what any accused person will be charged with & tried for. If a person is charged with manslaughter, it would be wrong to lớn call him an alleged murderer or the killing a murder, which is a far more serious charge.

It is worth noting here too that in correct English you must say that a person is charged with murder. If you say that a person is charged for murder, that strongly implies that he has done it, something which you must not prejudge. (There is also a comical interpretation because charged for means that a person is asked khổng lồ pay for something, for example "He was charged for using the tennis court.")

The following are some other common legal terms which cause problems:

Theft is simple stealing, distinct from robbery, which is theft with violence or a threat of violence.

Theft itself implies the intention lớn permanently deprive the owner of something. Someone who steals a car then abandons it is usually charged with taking a vehicle without the owner"s consent.

Stealing from buildings is called theft when the thief has legal access, such as stealing from an open siêu thị. When they have sầu khổng lồ break in it is called either break-and-enter or break, entry & stealing, although if it happens at night it is called burglary.

Fraud (sometimes called criminal deception) is obtaining money, goods or services by making false claims about them or yourself. There is a lesser charge of obtaining advantage by deception if there is no actual exchange of goods or money, such as lying to lớn a bank that you cannot repay a loan.

Xem thêm: Bài Viết Về Thời Gian Rảnh Rỗi Bằng Tiếng Anh, Top 4 Chọn Lọc

Rape is another problem area. It usually refers khổng lồ sexual intercourse obtained with force, violence or a threat of violence against a person"s will. In some countries, any sexual intercourse with a girl under the legal age of consent (whether or not she was willing) is termed statutory rape, while in others it is called carnal knowledge or unlawful sexual intercourse. In some countries, rape is referred khổng lồ as sexual assault. Cheông chồng the exact term in your country.

Drink driving or drunk driving are not actual charges. A driver may have had more than the legal limit of alcohol, but may not be drunk. The offence is driving while under the influence of alcohol or (in modern times when police can scientifically kiểm tra alcohol levels in the blood) driving with more than the permitted concentration of alcohol.


The police, the courts và criminals also use jargon words as a short khung. Jargon is specialised language concerned with a particular subject, culture or profession. It is not usually found in the everyday speech of your ordinary readers or listeners. (See Chapter 11: Language và style - words.) Your readers or listeners may not underst& jargon or any words which are not in clear & everyday language.

A good example of jargon is the word deceased, which simply means a dead person. Police reports will speak of "the deceased man"s wife" when you could write it more simply as "the dead man"s wife" or alternatively as "the man"s widow". Police jargon can often create some strange scenes, as in this example of a report:

The deceased struông xã his assailant a blow to lớn the head before receiving a fatal stab wound in the chest.

The impossibility of a dead man (the deceased) hitting anyone was missed by the reporter, who should have sầu rewritten the sentence:

The man hit his attacker on the head before being fatally stabbed in the chest.

Assailant is another jargon word liked by police but almost always better replaced by words such as attacker, robber, gunman etc. Police reports speak about an officer "proceeding to lớn the scene" when they mean that he walked, rode or drove there.

Most modern police forces have sầu developed a system of code words và numbers for crimes, criminals or officers. This was done lớn make radio messages clearer & shorter for their officers và lớn confuse anyone else listening in to the messages. There is no need for you khổng lồ use them, they will only confuse. A "10/40", for example, may be the code for a robbery in progress. You Call it "a robbery". The police may refer to lớn a "GBH", but you should use the full term "assault causing grievous bodily harm" in the first reference, then simply "the assault".

^^baông chồng khổng lồ the top

Write simply

Many journalists believe that they add drama and life lớn a story by adding adjectives và adverbs. They refer to "a brutal slaying", as if another slaying can be gentle. They say that ambulances "rushed" to the scene, as if some ambulance drivers dawdle in an emergency.

Adjectives và adverbs usually get in the way of understanding, unless they add lớn the accuracy of defining something, such as red oto. If you choose the right noun, you will not need many adjectives. For example, all screams are high-pitched, all explosions are loud, all battles are fierce, so you vì chưng not need the adjective.

In any sentence, the verb can be the best way of adding drama, if used carefully & the same verb is not used too often. A man who falls head-over-heels from a building can be said khổng lồ tumble. An attacker who cuts out someone"s eye with a knife can be said khổng lồ have sầu gouged it out.

^^bachồng to the top


The sudden & brief nature of many crimes means that you cannot always rely on descriptions of what happened, from victims, witnesses or even the police. Only report as a fact what you know lớn be true. All the rest must be attributed. For example, if the police tell you that a man was attacked in Mananga Street last night, you can state that as a fact, without attribution. However, if they say that they think he knew his attackers, but are not sure, you should attribute that. There is no need lớn put "police said" throughout your story, but you should include the words whenever there is any doubt at all, as in the following:

A 60-year-old man was attacked outside his home in the thành phố last night.

Retired carpenter Ahmed Shazi was opening the door to lớn his home page in Mananga Street when has was hit over the head from behind.

Police believe the attacker used a large stiông chồng khổng lồ beat Mr Shazi several times before running off.

Mr Shazi was taken khổng lồ the Royal Hospital, where doctors put six stitches into a head wound. He was detained overnight but allowed home page this morning.

The police say they can find no motive for the attaông chồng.

Notice from the above that we Gọi the event "an attack". There was little doubt that it happened, and police themselves used the word. They are still looking for the attacker (as mentioned already, never use the word assailant - it is not common in everyday English). If they charge someone with assault over it, you should insert the word "alleged" whenever you are describing any aspect of the attaông xã which may be disputed in court. This is because the defendant will probably argue that he did not vì chưng it, it is simply an allegation. Your report after an arrest would now read as follows:

An off-duty soldier has been charged with assault after an attaông chồng on a 60-year-old man.

Police say that the soldier will appear before thành phố magistrates later today.

The man is alleged lớn have sầu attacked retired carpenter Ahmed Shazi in Mananga Street on Wednesday.

Mr Shazi was treated for head wounds after the attack.

Notice that we use alleged once, because the soldier will probably deny that he did the attaông chồng. We state as facts that the soldier has been charged, and that Mr Shazi was treated for head wounds. We attribute to the police that the soldier will appear in court because, although it is likely, it is not certain.

^^baông xã lớn the top


Write crime stories about people - the criminals, the police and the victims

Keep your writing simple & straightforward; avoid jargon

Make your reports more interesting with appropriate quotes or actuality; attribute all comments và attribute facts where necessary

This is the over of the third part of this four-part section on crime. If you now want to lớn read on, follow this links to lớn the fourth section, Chapter 38: Ethics of reporting crime