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Crime Victims - The Study Of Victims

statistics studies crimes thefts

Increased concern over crime victims in the 1970s not only led to victim compensation and assistance programs, but also to studies of victims and their roles in the criminal justice process. These studies formed a new area of criminology called "victimology." Researchers look at the physical, financial, and emotional harm suffered by victims of crime, as well as how victims react—from seeking retaliation against their offenders to trying to get on with their lives. Such research helps shape future policy and programs to assist crime victims.

Victim Statistics

Two major sources for statistics concerning victims are available. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) releases an annual report called the Uniform Crime Report (UCR). The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) conducts an annual National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). The FBI reports have been produced every year since 1930 and collect information from seventeen thousand law enforcement offices.

The UCR reports on serious crimes including murders, rapes, aggravated assaults, robberies, burglaries, larcenies, and automobile thefts and provides statistics nationally and by state, county, and community. These statistics include only crimes reported to the police. Aside from murder cases, however, information on victims was not collected until the 1990s. The FBI also reports on college campus crime, terrorism, and hate crimes.

Created in 1973, the NCVS collects data from a large sample of the population to estimate how many physical and sexual assaults, robberies, automobile thefts, and other thefts have actually occurred. The survey collects data on victims such as sex, age, race, ethnic affiliation, income, amount of education, and residence. These statistics provide useful information on how certain groups of people are more susceptible to crime. Citizens wishing to minimize their chance of being victimized or victimized a second time, can use these statistics to change their behavior patterns.

The studies also hoped to identify behavior or situations that might put people at higher risk of becoming crime victims. Some were simple: flashing a large wad of money in public could certainly attract a robber. Other studies were controversial or upsetting, such as stating that some females were more likely to be attacked or raped based on the way they dressed. A study concerning murders in Philadelphia found over one-fourth of all murders were caused by the victim in some way—including knowing an offender, as well as drinking alcohol, arguing, or fighting with the offender.

Other studies found that victims might provoke crimes through carelessness, like walking in a dark area at night. Even where a person works, shops, lives, goes to school, or socializes can be factors in a crime. Though many consider it important to determine the role victims play in crime so future attacks can be avoided, it does not remove any degree of responsibility from the criminal.


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over 7 years ago

This helped to complete my assignment well. Actually thanking you only is really not enough.