Victimization Theories.

Essay by hch11asUniversity, Master'sA-, May 2003

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There are five major theories of victimization. These theories discuss how victims and victimization are major focuses in the study of crime. They all share many of the same assumptions and strengths dealing with crime and its victims. The five major theories are Victim precipitation, Lifestyle, Equivalent group hypothesis, Proximity hypothesis, and Routine activities.

Victim Precipitation assumes that "victims provoke criminals" and that "victims trigger criminal acts by their provocative behavior" (106). According to our text, this theory states that the victim initiates the confrontation that might eventually lead to the crime. In victim precipitation, it can be either passive or active. Active precipitation occurs when the victim is the first to attack or encourages the criminal by their actions. Passive precipitation can either occur due to personal conflict or when the victim unknowingly threatens or provokes the attacker (95). The strengths that the text point out for this particular theory is that it "explains multiple victimizations.

If people precipitate crime, it follows that they will become repeat victims if their behavior persists over time" (106).

The theories that are more common are the "Lifestyle theories that suggest that victims put themselves in danger by engaging in high-risk activities" (106). "Victimization risk is increased when people have a high-risk lifestyle. Placing oneself at risk by going out to dangerous places results in increased victimization" (106). This theory "explains victimization patterns in the social structure. Males, young people, and the poor have high victimization rates because they have a higher-risk lifestyle than females, the elderly, and the affluent" (106). The lifestyle theories assume that the victim participates in high-risk activities which make them suitable targets for crime. The Deviant place theory discusses the fact that crime flourishes in certain places and the odds of victimization increase when people live in the...