victimization theories

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victimization theories

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1. Victimization Theories Victim Precipitation Life Style RAT

3. Fewer Men, More Crimes Low sex ratio makes men reluctant to marry and invest in children If they did marry, they were at high risk for divorce or separation These factors help to destabilize the conventional family structure and result in births to unwed mothers

4. Fewer Men, More Crimes Mothers-teenagers are lacking parenting skills Their sons tend to be more crime prone than sons of two-parent families

5. Victimology The scientific study of victimization, including the relationships between victims and offenders, the interactions between victims and the criminal justice system -- that is, the police and courts, and corrections officials -- and the connections between victims and other societal groups and institutions, such as the media, businesses, and social movements

6. “Crime Victim” The term "crime victim" generally refers to any person or group who has suffered injury or loss due to illegal activity The harm can be physical, psychological, or economic 

7. Robbery Robbery is a form of theft, distinguished from larceny by the use of threat or force or at least the possibility of force Robbery victims experience recurrent and intrusive thoughts and dreams of the incident Changes in eating and sleeping habits are common 4% of robbery victims seek mental health treatment Each robbery victim is different; they heal at their own pace

8. The law enforcement advice Remain calm! Obey the commands of the robber and do exactly as you are told. Inform the robber of any moves you intend to take which the robber may not anticipate and could mistake as an aggressive action on your part. It is not recommended to resist the robbery. Do try to get the very best description of the robber as possible. Try to remember everything you can about the robber, including mannerisms, clothing, etc. As soon as the robber departs, immediately dial 9-1-1. Protect the scene and try not to touch anything until the police arrive. Ask any witnesses to remain to talk with police about what they might have seen

9. Victimization Theories What makes someone a victim? Look at criminal-victim dyad Victim as agent provocateur Victim characteristics contribute to victimization Situational context Spatial characteristics Can we decrease our chances of being victimized?

10. Victimization and situational setting Individual behavior is a product of an interaction between the person and the setting Most criminological theories pay attention only to the first, asking why certain people might be more criminally inclined or less so This neglects the important features of social setting

11. Benjamin Mendelsohn (1956) Father of victimology – coined term victimology Discovered strong relationship between victimization and social setting Classification based on legal considerations of the degree of the victim’s blame 1. completely innocent (being in the wrong place at the wrong time) 2. victims with minor guilt/due to ignorance 3. victim as guilty as offender/voluntary victim

12. Victim Precipitation The degree to which victim is responsible for own victimization Wolfgang (1958): Investigated homicides in Philly from 1948-1952 Common factors: Often victim and offender know each other Alcohol plays role Incident often escalates from minor altercation to murder

13. Victim Precipitation 60% of cases where women killed their husbands as victim precipitated 9% of incidents where men killed their wives as victim precipitated

14. Wolfgang’s Study Victim was “the first to slap, punch, stab..” The prevalence of victim precipitation in murder and assault is contrary to the popular image victims as totally innocent

15. Victim Precipitation and Homicide Interpersonal dispute is a dominant characteristic of many homicides Five stages of escalation for typical homicide 1. Victim makes a direct offensive verbal attack against the offender (40 % of victims initiate the homicide drama by verbal threat)

16. Victim Precipitation and Homicide 2. The offender interprets the victim’s words and deeds as offensive 3. The offender makes the opening to “pay back” the victim for the previous insult 4. The eventual victim “stands up” to the offender’s opening, responding with increased hostility

17. 5. Commitment to battles ensues, the victim is left dead or dying (35% of offenders carry gun or knives, and nearly 65% leave the crime scene to obtain weapons) Victim Precipitation and Homicide

18. Amir’s analysis of rape Police records on rape incidents in Philly from 1958-1960 19% of all forcible rapes were victim-precipitated Factors: alcohol, seductive actions by victim, wearing revealing clothing, using risque language, bad reputation Offender’s interpretation of actions is what is important – not what victim actually does

19. Provocative dress - active precipitation

20. Passive Precipitation Occurs when the victim exhibits some personal characteristic that either threaten or encourages the attacker Related to power Group of immigrants arriving to the community and compete for job Love interest, promotion

21. Problems with Victim Precipitation Assumption that behavior of victim can explain criminal act Responsibility Placed on Victim Creates Culturally Legitimate Victim Excuses Offenders Behavior

22. Victimology Today Aim to search for the causes of victimization Concerned with: How victims are defined How definitions are applied – by victim by social scientists, by community How victims react to experience How society responds to victims – systems for dealing with victims

23. Lifestyle Theory Victimization is the function of the victim’s lifestyle Going out in public places late at night, living in urban areas High-risk lifestyles: drinking, taking drugs, getting involved in crimes, leaving household for a long time, etc Do WSU students have high-risk lifestyles?

24. Lifestyles Theory Micro-level theory Variations in lifestyle affect # situations with high victimization risks that an individual may experience People associate with Working outside of the home Leisure activities Someone who has drug dealer as friend is more likely to be victimized than someone with prosocial friends

25. Empirical Tests General findings: homes that are well-guarded are less likely to be burglarized People who stay out late and drink heavily are more likely to be crime victims

26. Empirical tests Schwartz and Pitts (1995): study of college women at Ohio University Most likely to be victim: Number of nights go out drinking (suitable target/absence of guardianship) Whether have friends who get women drunk for purpose of having sex (motivated offender) Experiencing uncomfortable advances in bar (suitable target, motivated offenders, absence of capable guardianship)

27. Dangerous Times Nighttime and weekends are the peak times for most violent crimes, property offenses, and public order violations Darkness is a criminogenic condition (fewer people are around, higher rates of drug and alcohol use, greater anonymity)

28. Dangerous places Dangerousness of particular physical locations changes according to crimes Victims’ homes (homicide, assault, sexual offenses) Streets around victim’s homes and deserted areas near parking lots and entertainment establishments (muggers and auto thieves)

29. Dangerous Times and Places for Homicide and Aggravate Assault Homicide Evening hours (6pm-6a.m) (70%) Weekends (39%) Home/residence (35%) Street/alley (39%) Vehicle (10%) Commercial places (6%) Aggravated Assault Evening hours (6p.m. –midnight) (49%) Within 1 mile of residence (54%) Streets/parking lots (34%) In or near victim’s home (28%) Schools (5%) Home of friend/relative/neighbor (9%)

30. Victim profile in homicide and aggravated assault Homicide victims Male (76%) White (50%); African american(48%) 13-24 years old (32%) Same race of victim and offender (89%) Single and never married (54%) Urban resident (54%) Employed (56%) High risk occupations: 1. Taxicab driver and Chauffeurs 2. Police/Law enforcement officials 3. Hotel clerks 4. Garage & service station employee 5. Stock handlers and baggers

31. Sociodemographic Characteristics of Offenders Overrepresented for Each Crime Type

32. Time and Place Elements of Crime Profiles

33. Situational Elements of Crime Profiles

34. Routine Activity Theory Cohen, Felson (195…) “Opportunity makes the thief” RAT argues that when a crime occurs, three things happen at the same time and in the same space: 1. a suitable target is available 2. there is the lack of a suitable guardian to prevent the crime from happening 3. motivated offender is present

35. Routine Activity Theory

36. A Suitable Target The first condition for crime is that a suitable target must be available There are three major categories of target: a person an object a place

37. Potential Targets Four things make a target suitable to an offender and these use the acronym VIVA: Value. The offenders value the target for what they gain or value the effect they have on it For example, a burglary might occur because the burglar wants the stolen items or wants the money made from selling them Offender might damage a bus stop, because he/she gets satisfaction (value)

38. Potential Targets Inertia. The size or weight of an item can effect how suitable it is. For example, items such as CDs and watches are suitable targets for shoplifters because they are small and portable. Visibility. How visible a target is can affect its suitability. For example, items left in view of a window or someone counting money near a cash point machine are visible targets. Access. If a target is easy to get to, this increases its suitability. So, goods displayed outside shops, or someone walking through a deserted street alone at night are accessible.

39. Absence of a Capable Guardian A capable guardian is anything, either a person or thing, that discourages crime from taking place Police patrols, security guards, Neighbourhood Watch schemes, locks, fences, barriers, lighting, alarm systems, vigilant staff and co-workers, friends A guardian can be present, but ineffective. For example a CCTV camera is not a capable guardian if it is set up or sited wrongly Staff might be present in a shop, but may not have sufficient training or awareness to be an effective deterrent

40. Likely Offenders Gain/Need: poverty, to feed a drug habit, greed. Society/Experience/Environment: living in a culture where crime is acceptable, because of peer pressure, coercion, lack of education, poor employment prospects, envy, as a rebellion against authority. Beliefs: a belief that crime in general or particular crimes aren’t wrong, as a protest on a matter of principle, prejudice against certain minority/ethnic groups.

41. The offender profile in burglary Male (88%) White (68%), African American (30%) <25 years old (64%) Prior arrest record (79%) Prior felony arrest record (68%) Little offense specialization

42. The victim profile in household burglary Highest <19 years old head of household African American/Latino Income<$15,000 Urban resident Renter Six or more people in households Resident for less than 6 months Multifamily unit Lowest 65 or older head of household White/non-Latino Income >$75,000 Rural/Suburban Owner Live alone Residents for more than 5years Single-family unit

43. Household burglary

44. Benett and Wright (1984) Found that burglars use a variety of cues in selecting targets (empirical test of RAT) “Surveillability” refers to the extent to which a house is overseen by neighbors or passerby

45. How to chose a target “Signs of occupancy” (internal lightening, cars in a garage, seeing resident in the house, noise, voices) “Accessibility” refers to easy of entry without detection (alarms, window and door bars, security entrances, etc)

46. Empirical Validity of RAT Sherman (1989) “hot spots” study He focused on “criminology of place” and used Minneapolis police “call data” Most crime reports (calls) came from only 3% of all locations in the city Those places attracted offenders (absence of guardians)

47. Evaluation of RAT RAT is not a theory of criminal behavior, it is a theory of criminal victimization Theory does not explain why some persons are motivated to commit crime Does not explain why informal/formal control exercised to prevent crime It just assumes that informal/formal guardians are not present or able to prevent crime, then crime will occur Theory of common sense (Akers, 2000) Sit at home, watch television, decrease chance of being victimized

48. Policy Implications Situational Crime Prevention: stop crime by preventing the intersection in time and space of offenders and targets that lack guardianship Make target less attractive and offenders will choose not to commit crime

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