Victimology: Crime and Deviant Place Theory
Victimology: neither a victim nor an offender be. Caution is a parent of safety. Victimology is the scientific study of victimization, including the relationships between victims and offenders, the interactions between victims and the criminal-justice system, and the connections between victims and other social groups and institutions.
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Victimology as an academic term contains two elements: one is the Latin word “Victima” which translates into “victim” and the other is the Greek word “logos” which means a system of knowledge, the direction of something abstract, the direction of teaching, science, and a discipline.
The concept of victim dates back to ancient cultures and civilizations, such as the ancient Hebrews. Its original meaning was rooted in the idea of sacrifice or scapegoat — the execution or casting out of a person or animal to satisfy a deity or hierarchy. Over the centuries, the word victim came to have additional meanings. The field of victimology emerged in the 1940s when two European criminologists named Von Hentig and Mendelsohn, often called the “fathers of victimology,” began studying crime victims. They suggested the theory that the victim’s behavior and attitude caused the crime to be committed.
The field of victimology originally devoted most of its energy to examining the numerous ways victims shared the responsibility of specific crimes with the criminal offenders. For a long time, criminologists focused their attention strictly on the role of the criminal. But over the years, it has been discovered that the role of the victim is actually very important as well, as it can influence fate and shape and motivate a criminal. Today, there are a number of theories attempting to explain victimization and its causes.
A few of the most common and important theories are the victim precipitation theory, the lifestyle theory and the deviant place theory. The victim precipitation theory suggests that some people cause or initiate a particular confrontation that may eventually lead to that person becoming victimized by injury or death. Such precipitation on part of the victim can either be active or passive. Active precipitation exists when the victim knowingly acts in a provocative manner, uses fighting words or threats, or simply attacks first.
Passive precipitation however, occurs when the victim contains characteristics that unknowingly motivates or threatens the attacker. Such crimes can exist due to personal conflicts such as two individuals competing for a love interest, a promotion, a job, or any other desirable or rare commodity. A woman may receive a promotion and become a victim of violence because of the jealousy of someone she may or may not even know. Such precipitation may also exist when a victim is part of a particular group that offends or threatens someone’s economic well-being, status or reputation. Next is the lifestyle theory.
Many criminologists believe that those whose lifestyle increases criminal exposure are more likely to become victims of crime. Behaviors such as going out late at night, associating with younger men, and residing in cities increases the chances of falling victim to crime. Those who choose high-risk lifestyles which include taking drugs, drinking, and participating in criminal activities run a much higher risk of becoming victims. Also, the more time someone is exposed to street life, the greater their chance of becoming victims. Young men in particular have a very high risk of victimization.
College students who tend to spend several nights partying each week are also more likely to be at risk than those who avoid such unstable lifestyles. Those who commit crimes increase their chances of becoming victim of crimes as well. Another theory is the deviant place theory. This theory holds that victims do not motivate crime but rather are prone to becoming victims simply because they live in social areas that are disorganized and contain high-crime rates and therefore have the highest risk of coming into contact with criminals regardless of their lifestyle or behavior.
The more someone visits a high-crime area, the more chances they will have at becoming a victim. However, there is a lot we can do to prevent ourselves from being a victim. Some of the ways to prevent yourself from being victimized are: protect your vulnerability, be careful about the company you keep, lock up your valuables, spend some extra money on security. These are just a few of the things an individual can do to protect themselves from becoming victims of crimes. They may seem easy, yet not everyone takes advantage of the precautions.
To protect your vulnerability basically means to not let your guard down in front of too many people that you do not know on a personal level. Do not allow yourself to become involved in anything where anyone may have the chance to blackmail you. Live your life in reproach and protect your reputation. Protecting your vulnerability ties in with being careful about the company you keep. Keep a small group of friends instead of letting yourself become impersonally involved with large groups of individuals. In addition, do not let strangers enter your home.
Sometimes when an individual’s car breaks down they may need to use the phone, well if this ever happens to you, ask them what number they want to dial and you dial it for them. Also, developing a pattern of behavior allows bad guys to plan an attack or ambush, to track someone’s comings and goings. So they can plan when they can safely break into apartment. The time variation of coming and going, routes to work, school, gym or sometimes even coffeehouse seems to be solution to some extent. President Barack Obama goes for a run, or even travels anywhere, he never goes the same route twice.
Sometimes we become a victim of situation. For example, you leave work late one night, and get stuck in the elevator, long everyone else has gone home; you fall asleep on the subway and wake up lost; you get in a car wreck and skid off the road, down a 200 foot hill into a ravine, hidden from sight of the road. For that reason letting someone know when you are doing something different or going someplace you have not been before is probably would be better. It goes without saying that some of the crimes we attracting when we look like a potential target.
Victims of violent crimes like a mugging or robbery call attention to themselves by either being oblivious to their surroundings or by looking helpless. It reminds one joke about attention that tells: “You probably won’t be robbed by screaming out ‘Rob Me! ’ but you definitely will be by walking and texting at the same time”. It is not a paradox but underworld has more victims than anything else.
People who involve themselves in criminal activities for example such as fraud, assault, forgery, manslaughter, terrorism, robbery etc. considered to be at the high risk to be a victim. Some of them become addicts or have nothing but debts to the old age and others found dead somewhere. Criminal world has his own fictional rules, which creates a vision of order and stability for “beginners” but in return of unquestioning obedience. Of course living by such “rules” breaks our real laws approved by society and government. But the thing is law enforcement’s chances to help if you are in criminal world become null and void.
So even someday if you will be ready to get rid of a criminal past, criminal past probably will not be ready to let you go. From my point of view, today when we are living in technologically developed era proverb as “Caution is a parent of safety” should be taken into account more seriously. Consciously involving in criminal activities means big percentage of ending up dead or at least in jail because it is easier to trace illegal actions now, but at the same time naked photo of yours could be seen everywhere once you put it on Facebook.