AEE 614: How to Talk about Crime in the US

crime in American culture

Today we answer a listener question about how to discuss crime in the United States.

Find out what the words are, how to use them, and hear about Lindsay’s and Michelle’s favorite crime show today!

Here is a question from our listener:

“Hi Lindsay and Michelle.

I hope you are very well. l like you and your precious podcast a lot. I have learnt so much and I am thirsty for more. I am really grateful.

Anyway, here is one of my questions: I usually confused about these: convicted, accused, charged, and etc. Actually I know the meaning but I want to know the difference of their consequences specially in U.S. I really appreciate your answer, in advance.  Have a good one”

-Masoume

 

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Americans love crime shows!

Crime shows are hot right now! 

We recommend a new HBO mini series called The Night Of.  It’s about an American-born kid whose family is from Pakistan.

He’s a good kid. He goes to school. He does his work. He is a responsible member of his family.

One night he meets a woman.

He goes back to her house with her.

He takes strong drugs with her and they have sex then he passes out and falls asleep.

He wakes up a few hours later and goes to say goodbye. He turns on the light and sees that she has been stabbed 22 times in her back.

He freaks out and runs and takes the knife with him.

He doesn’t remember committing this act and he can’t imagine doing something like this but at the same time he was on so many drugs.

The police catch him and he is considered the prime suspect so he goes to Rikers Island to await his trial.

You have the watch the mini series to see what happens after that. It’s a great show and you will feel the suspense the whole way through.

 

Vocabulary words about crime and punishment:

  • Convicted- To find or prove (someone) guilty of an offense or crime, especially in court.
    • “The jury convicted the defendant of murder.”
  • Accused- To be the defendant in a criminal case. In this case he was definitely accused of murder by the DA (District Attorney). The DA represents the state and brings a case against an accused criminal.
    • “The boy was accused of murder”
  • Charged- To be convicted of something. An indictment charging someone with murder.
    • “He was charged with murder”
  • Indictment- Formal document written for a prosecuting attorney charging a person with some offense.

 

Bonus phrases:

  • To be behind bars: Te be locked up in jail
  • The Rock= Alcatraz: A famous jail in San Francisco Bay
  • In the slammer: To be in jail
  • Bust out: To escape, to get out of jail or to get out of a place
  • Bail someone out: To use money to get someone out of jail or to rescue them in some way
  • Up for parole: To be eligible to get out of jail
  • “Doing time”: To be serving a sentence
  • Joint: Jail

 

What other questions do you have about crime in American culture?

Let us know in the comments section below.

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