How to become a victim of crime




victim of crime, victimogenic situation, victimization scenarios


Victimization from crime – a higher degree of social vulnerability criminal, contributing to the commission of crimes against them in certain circumstances. Victimization takes place in space and time, and includes four stages: 1) the emergence of criminal threats; 2) increasing the degree of social vulnerability to criminal assault; 3) the harm to individuals who find themselves in a vulnerable state at appropriate conditions (situations); 4) increase the number of victims of crimes as registered and latent, which helps re-victimization of some of them.

As a result of our Internet survey of more than 3002 people (2015) defined the proportion of citizens who every year are victims of crime. By 2015 it is 37 %. However, one in seven respondents already had experience of victimization before. In our view, there is a threshold of permissible viktymizovanosti population not exceeding 40 % and is independent of the level of crime in a calendar year or an. Typically, victims of crime every year are new faces. Re-victimization experiences 15 % of citizens.

The risk of becoming a victim of crime depends on the accuracy and timeliness of recognition of sources and types of criminal threats. Showed a rather stereotypical ideas of the criminal threat and showed a disorientation in identifying their sources. The last mentioned some time. Traditionally people cautious attitude to strangers, suspicious issued and may bear criminal intent (62 %); alarming stay at poorly attended locations in the dark (67 %) and likelihood of falling into unpredictable situations (44 %). Only 15% of respondents sees the source of victimization in their own dangerous behavior.

While the public understanding of the sources of victimization are largely abstract and false character. So, to our knowledge, most people are afraid of violent crime (64 %), but actually experiencing mercenary crimes (60 %). In the context of what has been said quite expected the place called criminal threat. Among these markedly dominated the streets and other public places (64 %), as well as markets, train stations, shopping centers (18 %), places of mass recreation of citizens (10 %). This is the open area with free access unspecified persons, where the bulk of accidental contact with strangers. However, most protected from criminal attacks citizens feel in their own homes and at work. In light of the deterioration of situation of the massive spread of thefts from homes and other buildings, these opinions seem questionable. So, inability to timely and correctly identify the sources and types of criminal threats significantly increases the vulnerability of more than 60 % of citizens before the criminal assault, demonstrating their inability to avoid dangerous situations and unwillingness to protect themselves from crime. As a result, victims of crime every year becomes more and more new people who create their behavior or get into criminogenic situation.

The study refutes strict correlation between compliance with the rules of personal safety and likely incur criminal assault. Thus, 42 % of respondents stated categorically safeguard measures against crime, 41 % - mainly follow these rules. Only 17 % reported disregard of safety rules. This trend indicates a lack of clear understanding of the citizens of the sources and types of criminal threats. On them is only a general idea. In the population there is a perception that victimization behavior should be sure to wear obvious and provocative character, being understood by the general public. So when people so-called "moderate risk" - is considered the norm, few people are alarming.

During the survey of victimological studied of citizens the issue of criteria for which offenders choose victims of crime. Among these victims are called: coincidence – 27 %; inattention in public places – 25 %; living in criminogenic areas - 11.3 %; obvious signs of provocative behavior (excessive trust in strangers, stay drunk, demonstration of plenty) - 24.1 %. Most by illustration demonstrates attitudes to crime victims and their participation in decision-criminal decisions, answer questions about their victims feeling of "guilt." Just over half of respondents (56 %) consider themselves guilty also. However, 44% expressed the opposite judgment.

Despite the established share of citizens who every year are victims of crime, observed some increase in their activity of applicants. Previously (in 2012) to law enforcement agencies only every third approached the victim from criminal attacks, in 2015 the share of applicants has risen to 50 %. This is the general trend of more active public appeal to the law enforcement and judicial bodies for redress and compensation for damage. At the same time, in applicant activity of victims is positively affects new procedural order of registration of citizens. Given these arguments, assuming latent reduce crime in the country as a whole.

Reasons not appeal to the law enforcement agencies have traditionally called the famous triad: disbelief in the effectiveness of their work (50% of respondents), minor material damage caused by crime (44 %), and lack of serious harm to the health of victims (33 %). First answer more emotional than rational. It appears the low level of trust in public authorities in general and law enforcement in particular. The passivity of applicants actually explains the reluctance to deal with bureaucracy ineffective law enforcement, lack of time to participate in the official investigation and the trial, and for fear of public censure.

In our view, there are two common scenarios of victimization. The first - improper perceptions associated with known to locals criminal threats and reluctance to respond to them appropriately.

The second scenario victimization associated with temporary disorientation in space and time with the reach  to new locations in unfamiliar situation, as well as a chance meeting with dangerous people.

Consequently, victims of crime usually are two categories of people. On the one hand, a poorly adapted to modern living conditions of individuals who primarily guided by intuitive thinking in identifying criminal threats and choosing the behavior strategies in social interaction with other participants of public relations. They show an increased vulnerability to criminal assault and psychological readiness to accept the role of victim.

The second category of people is guided by rational thinking that basically allows you to properly navigate in the sources and types of criminal threats and largely avoid dangerous situations. Their vulnerability to criminal assault is temporary and related to the time and place of residence.

Author Biography

Богдан Миколайович Головкін, Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University

Chair of the Department of Criminology and Penitentiary Law, Doctor of Legal Sciences, Professor


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How to Cite

Головкін, Б. М. (2017). How to become a victim of crime. Problems of Legality, (136), 161–172.



Criminal law. Criminology