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The Profiling of Crime Victims

The crime theory suggests that crime victims resemble crime perpetrators and theirs main social and personal characteristics. This phenomenon is explained by the fact that it is easy to cheat and robber a person “like you” being aware of all personal features and habits of that very person. While analyzing the crime relationship criminologists developed several theories to explain the main reasons for committing crimes, why young people are more involved in crimes, what causes long-term involvement in committing crimes, and so on. Such theories include the psychological, biological, social, and behavioral. While all of them are very important in understanding the victims-perpetrators relationship, the social learning theory is a core of this analysis (Lurigio et al 2003).

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As noted above, depending on age, sex, socioeconomic status, and other factors, a person may be much less likely to be victimized than these figures indicate. Many criminals choose a person of the same age and social-economic status as they are because of psychological causes. These factors affect lifestyles. By age, people differ in mobility, exposure to others, and time spent outside the home. Very young children are not often exposed to criminal victimization because few activities involving that age group occur outside the home. They are under the constant supervision and protection of an adult. This pattern begins to change when a young person starts school.

The child spends greater amounts of time away from home with nonfamily members. With adulthood, lifestyle shifts again. Job and familial responsibilities buffer a person from criminogenic environments (Lurigio et al 2003).

It is more likely that a young black man will robber a young black man or a woman than a rich white old man. On the one hand, blacks are more frequently victims of violence than others, while whites experience property crimes at higher rates than other ethnic and racial groups. For crimes of violence, robbery accounts for the higher rate experienced by blacks. Blacks are almost three times more likely than whites to be a robber’s victim.

For property crimes, blacks are more vulnerable to purse-snatching and pocket-picking than whites, but whites experience higher rates of larceny without contact. These statistics indicate that the young, male, unmarried or divorced, and poor face higher risks of criminal victimization. According to criminologists, people characterized by more than one of these variables have exceedingly high victimization rates.

Envy and dissatisfaction with life is a cause of violence against the same race or ethnic group. The majority of criminals are poor, so the poor are much more vulnerable to violent crime. Individuals from the highest income levels are victimized only about half as often as members of the poorest families. This is true for all violent crimes except rape, where women from poor families are nine times more likely to be attacked than women from wealthy families. Another crucial difference among income categories is that poor persons are much more likely to be seriously injured when robbed or assaulted than more affluent people.

Whereas a single or divorced person is more likely to spend time outside the home and in the company of strangers, the cohabitation associated with married life, or a history of married life in the case of a widow or widower, increases stability and the number of at-home responsibilities and thus isolation from crime (Lurigio et al 2003).

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In sum, crime victims resemble crime perpetrators because of social, economic, and psychological factors. Mobility, interpersonal contacts, and the external world become increasingly restricted. Fear of crime also increases with age, contributing to the further reduction in exposure to victimization as older adults avoid unsafe places.


Lurigio, A.J., Skogan, W.G., Carl, R. (2003). Victims of Crime: Problems, Policies, and Programs. Sage Publications, Inc.

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