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Demographic Characteristics and Victimization

Introduction

Today the economic and political situation worldwide is not stable due to the COVID-19 pandemic and overall uncertainty about the future. People make choices to report the criminal offenses that happen to them or not based on what they consider the safest decision. Historically, physically weak people were less likely to report a violent incident due to their fear that their offender will find them later. Now the situation is different because of the powerful support citizens receive from society.

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Crime Reporting and Statistics

Accurate statistics about victimization and its reporting to the police is challenging to collect as people interpret crime differently and in some cases choose to hide the fact that violence occurred. Governments and social organizations use surveys as their primary instrument to collect the data since people are more open about victimization when asked anonymously. This method also allows them to count both reported and non-reported cases, at least for those available to describe their personal experiences. The rate of unreported crime in the US increased by about thirty percent over the past five years; simultaneously, the rates of reported violent crime did not show any significant changes (Morgan & Truman, 2020). Such an outcome may be a sign that people trust the government institutions less than before.

Factors Affecting Crime Victimization

At least officially, the modern law and justice systems have been adjusted to assist all genders, races, and ages equally. However, some factors, such as small size or slim build, may still affect a criminal’s mind in choosing the victim, as these people seem easy to overpower. Because of that, children, young girls, and older adults are still targeted more often by offenders, especially in cases of robbery. Another factor that affects people’s responses during the surveys is their perception of the crime itself. According to Guthrie (2013), men were more likely to consider a fight in the household an insignificant disagreement, whereas women would report it as a case of violence. Overall, violent crime rates seem to decrease, while cyberbullying is on the rise due to technological advances, although the actual statistics may differ due to incomplete reporting.

Statistics Example

There seems to be no correlation between the reporting rates of the crime, excluding the simple assault, and the victims’ demographic characteristics. While the reporting rate dropped significantly across all the surveyed groups, women’s victimization decreased by about twenty percent, of people of Hispanic origin – increased by one-fifth, while for the Asian American – the number was cut in half between 2018 and 2019 (Morgan & Truman, 2020). Other groups also seem to move independently of the reporting rates. For example, crime victimization has doubled for households earning more than $200,000 a year, but that may be due to more people joining this category (Morgan & Truman, 2020). Besides, there is a group of simple assault crimes, which is challenging to analyze due to data inconsistencies.

Conclusion

Several decades ago, the victims of violent crimes were more prone to hiding their experience out of fear that the offender would find and harm them. Today, due to improvements in technology and the criminal justice system overall, such factors are less likely to affect people’s desire to talk to the police. However, other reasons, such as psychological health or lack of willingness to start the investigation, may still prevent the victims from reporting the crimes.

References

Guthrie, G. (2013). Social factors affecting violent crime victimization in urban households. DWU Research Journal, 18, 35−54.

Morgan, R. E., & Truman, J. L. Criminal victimization, 2019 [PDF document]. Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, April 29). Demographic Characteristics and Victimization. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/demographic-characteristics-and-victimization/

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