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  1. 1. Chapter 3 Victims and Victimization
  2. 2. Problems of Crime Victims  Victimization costs include: damaged property, pain and suffering, and the involvement of police and other agencies of the justice system
  3. 3. Problems of Crime Victims • Website link:
  4. 4. Problems of Crime Victims • Economic Loss:  Problems of Crime Victims • Violent crime by juveniles costs $158 billion per year • Total economic costs of crime amounts to $450 billion annually • The costs of crime for each U.S. citizen is $1,800 annually • Victims suffer long term losses in earnings and occupational attainment • Research suggests crime victims during adolescence earn about $82,000 less than nonvictims
  5. 5. Problems of Crime Victims • System Abuse  Callous handling of victims by police  Holding of personal property for evidence  Rape victims report feeling “re-raped”  Economic hardships due to trials
  6. 6. Problems of Crime Victims • Long Term Stress  Posttraumatic stress disorders (PTSD)  Lowering of self-esteem  Increased risk of suicide  Eating disorders  Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders  Victimization lead to some people feeling timid and cautious  Fear of a repeat attack  Suffer psychological stress for longer periods of time
  7. 7. Problems of Crime Victims • Antisocial Behavior  Victims are more likely to commit crimes themselves  Being abused increases the odds of one being arrested (cycle of violence)  Both males and females are affected by the cycle of violence
  8. 8. The Nature of Victimization  Crime rates have been declining  The violent victimization rate decreased 54 percent  The property crime victimization rate decreased 50 percent
  9. 9. Figure 3.1 Declining Crime Rates, 1973-2003
  10. 10. Figure 3.2 Violent Crime Victimization Rates, 1973-2003
  11. 11. Figure 3.3 Property Crime Victimization Rates, 1973-2003
  12. 12. The Nature of Victimization • The social ecology of victimization  Violent crimes are more likely to occur in open public areas during daytime or early evening hours  Almost two-thirds of more serious crimes such as rape occur after 6 P.M.  Inner-city inhabitants have a greater chance of being victimized than suburbanites
  13. 13. The Nature of Victimization • The Victim’s Household  Larger, African American, Western, and urban homes are the most vulnerable to crime  Recent declines in victimization may be explained by smaller households in less populated areas due to movement from urban areas
  14. 14. The Nature of Victimization • Victim Characteristics  Gender: • Males are more likely to be victims of violent crime than females, except for rape and sexual assault • Females are more likely to be victimized by someone they know, whereas males are more likely to be victimized by strangers  Age: • Young people are more at risk of victimization than older people • People over 65 only account for 1 percent of violent victimizations (most being frauds and scams)
  15. 15. Figure 3.4 Violent Crime Rates by Age of Victim
  16. 16. The Nature of Victimization • Social Status  Poor people are more likely to experience violent and property crime  The wealthy are more likely to be targets of personal theft crimes
  17. 17. The Nature of Victimization • Marital Status  Never-married people are more likely to be victimized than married people  Widows and widowers have the lowest victimization rate
  18. 18. CNN Clip - Anti-Immigrant House Bombing
  19. 19. The Nature of Victimization • Race and Ethnicity  African Americans more likely to be victims of violent crime than European Americans  Minorities experience income inequality in greater number than European Americans
  20. 20. Figure 3.5 Violent Crime Rates by Race of Victim
  21. 21. The Nature of Victimization • Repeat Victimization  Individuals who have been a crime victim have a significantly higher chance of future victimization  Characteristics which increase potential for victimization • Target vulnerability • Target gratifiability • Target antagonism
  22. 22. The Nature of Victimization • The Victims and Their Criminals  Males are more likely to be violently victimized by a stranger  Females are more likely to be victimized by a friend or intimate  Crime is intraracial: Blacks victimize Blacks and Whites victimize Whites  Substance abuse is involved in about one-third of violent crime incidents  Women are more likely to be both robbed and raped by known acquaintances
  23. 23. Theories of Victimization • Victim Precipitation Theory – some people may actually initiate the confrontation that leads to their injury or death.  Active precipitation – victim acts provocatively (Menachem Amir 1971)  Passive precipitation – occurs when victim exhibits some personal characteristics that unknowingly either threatens or encourages the attacker.
  24. 24. Theories of Victimization • Lifestyle Theory – certain lifestyles increase exposure to criminal offenders.  Being in a public place late at night  Living in an urban area  High-risk lifestyles (i.e. drinking, drug using)  Criminal lifestyle such as carrying weapons and belonging to gangs
  25. 25. Theories of Victimization • Deviant Place Theory  Victim prone to victimization because one resides in a socially disorganized high-crime area  The more often victims visit dangerous places, the more likely they will be exposed to crime and violence  Deviant places include: poor densely populated areas, highly transient neighborhoods and commercial areas with residential property in close proximity  William Julius Wilson suggests White residents flee high-crime areas, leaving racial minorities behind to suffer high victimization rates
  26. 26. Theories of Victimization • Routine Activity Theory  Victimization results from the interaction of everyday factors • Availability of suitable targets • Absence of capable guardians • Presence of motivated offenders  People who live in “hot spots” elevate their chances of victimization  Some criminologists suggest moral guardianship might cause some people to refrain from crime if they are bonded with conventional attitudes (peer rejection)  Ronald Clarke contends the relationship among opportunity, routine activities, and environmental factors increases victimization potential
  27. 27. Figure 3.6 Routine Activities Theory
  28. 28. Figure 3.7 The Opportunity Structure of Crime
  29. 29. Caring for the Victim • Victimization surveys indicate almost every American will become a victim of a common law crime • Helping the victim cope is the responsibility of all of society
  30. 30. Caring for the Victim • The Government’s Response  Task Force on Victim’s of Crime created in 1982 to provide recommendations for victim assistance  In 1984 The Comprehensive Crime Control Act and the Victims of Crime Act authorized federal funding for state victim compensation
  31. 31. Caring for the Victim • Victim Service Programs  An estimated 2,000 victim-witness assistance programs have been developed  Victim compensation: to pay for damages associated with crime ($100 to $15,000)  Court services: to help prepare victims and witnesses for court testimony  Public education: to familiarize the general public with primary prevention programs  Crisis intervention: Networks of social service agencies to provide emergency and long term assistance  Victim-offender reconciliation programs: use of mediators for face-to-face encounters between victims and perpetrators  Victim impact statements: allows victims the opportunity to describe their ordeal
  32. 32. Caring for the Victim • Victims’ Rights  Legal scholars have suggested crime victims have legal rights and society is obliged to ensure basic rights for law-abiding citizens  Thirty-three states have added victim’s rights amendments to their constitutions  A national Constitutional Amendment has been debated but has not yet passed Congress  In 2004, the Senate passed S.2329 a bill to provide rights to federal victims of crime, which does not change the Constitution
  33. 33. Caring for the Victim • Victim Advocacy  Advocates provide assistance to crime victims by interacting with police, courts, and legal aid  Advocates may assist in the writing of victim statements for various legal proceedings such as sentencing and probation/parole hearings.  Advocates may interact with media trying to ensure reporting is accurate and that privacy is not violated
  34. 34. Caring for the Victim • Self-Protection  Target hardening involves making one’s home and business crime proof  Use of fences, guards, surveillance cameras, window bars, warning signs, and dogs  Gary Kleck suggests armed victims kill between 1,500 and 2,800 potential felons each year
  35. 35. Caring for the Victim • Community Organization  Neighborhood watch programs  Community newsletters  Home security surveys  Lighting projects