An Academic Paper Written by a Criminal Justice Student in 2005 (Bachelor of Science) Contexts of Predatory Crime

Contexts of Predatory Crime
Name hidden
January 7, 2005
Dr. Spelman


         Is a victim’s fate preordained? Do victims have what is coming to them? Can victims or possible victims predict or prevent future victimization? The contexts in which a crime takes place may not all be well known to society, but enough information is available for prevention tactics to be put in place. Victim prevention tactics must be developed and taught to victims and potential victims in order to decrease the rate of victimization and predatory crime. 


Victim: According to Sgarzi and McDevitt (2003), the term victim is defined as any individual suffering injury or harm from forces outside of their control that is not relative to their personal responsibility. The Webster’s New World Dictionary (n.d.) defines victim as someone or something killed, destroyed, sacrificed, etc. and one who suffers some loss, especially by being swindled.

Predatory: Predatory is defined as 1. Living by preying on other organisms, and 2. a. Of, relating to, or characterized by plundering, pillaging, or marauding. B. living by or given to exploiting or destroying others for one’s own gain (The American Heritage Dictionary, 2000). 


         Not all crimes are committed by strangers; crimes are committed by friends, co-workers and colleagues as well. Victimization by any offender may be hard to deal with, but, when a person is victimized by some one he has a relationship with, the loss of trust has to be dealt with as well (Sgarzi & McDevitt, 2003).

         Many children who are abused, are abused by people that they love and trust. Many programs have become available to victims of various crimes, but, prevention is important as well. If a child care provider is employed in a person’s home, a background check should be run and cameras should be put in the house. These days with children being victimized by their own parents, it might be a good idea to have cameras in the hallways and rooms in the house that are not considered to be private.


         Victims who fall under this character are chosen by the predator due to the victim belonging to a certain group, such as certain racial or ethnic groups, or political parties. These types of crimes include hate crimes and terrorism (Sgarzi & McDevitt, 2003). When an offender attacks a victim on the basis of the color of his skin or religion, he is committing a hate crime. Nine thousand, one-hundred hate crimes were committed in 2003. In the category of crimes against persons, 49.7 percent were due to intimidation in hate crimes in 2003 (Longley, n.d.).    

         Hate crimes are hard to prevent. The best option is to become educated in the hate-crime area, know what to look for. Things to look for are groups of people of the same color who have the same identifying signs, such as tattoos with numbers 18 or 88. Clothing is a dead give away as well. Doc Martin boots and bald heads may warn potential victims to walk in a store or get back in their vehicles. These offenders usually have no relationship to the victim, and one victim against two or more offenders is bound to be in a very vulnerable situation.


         Proximity is defined as nearness (Webster’s Dictionary, n.d.). In some situations of predatory crime the victim and offender are in regular proximity with each other. For instance, battered women are at a disadvantage due to the regular proximity with their partners. How can women prevent abuse from their partners? This is a hard one because couples fall in love and cohabitate; they do not make it a rule to see a psychologist on their first date.

         The solution to this type of crime has to be a general solution, not an individual one. Professionals in this are must develop a prevention guide in order for women, or men for that matter to “see the signs.”  A workshop should be made mandatory for people over the age of sixteen. In addition to this, it has come time to re-think the punishment for this type of crime. A court-mandated six months away from the home will give the victim enough time to “get out” of the situation.  


         The dynamic of victimization changes due to the place in which a crime takes place. Crime may take place on school campuses, in the home, in the workplace. In places such as school or the workplace, the offender is in regular proximity to the victim which may lead to disagreements causing harassment. Unfortunately in this situation there is no way for the victim to distance himself from the offender unless he transfers to another location or quits (Sgarzi & McDevitt, 2003).

         Another problem with this type of situation is being harassed by the friend’s of the offender as well. What should a person do when they are harassed regularly on campus? If they fight back, the offenders may join in; hurt the victim, or the victim risks expulsion. Ignoring the offenders may be taken as vulnerability and harassment may continue. Complaining to the dean may help, but, on the other hand may make the situation worse. What then can be done?

     Some situations are no win situations. The offender may stop at nothing in order to continue harassment. Becoming a member of a group when school begins may prove that a person has interests, and is not alone and vulnerable. Nip disagreements in the bud so there is no chance for resentment to build. If this does not work, the victim may have to transfer to another school.      


         My arguments are quite extensive in regard to victimization and predatory crimes, but I am mainly concerned about prevention. The main issues surrounding victimization is re-victimization. No matter how you look at it, the victim is re-victimized. The child who is molested in the home is terrified to go to court to “tell on daddy.” The rape victim goes to trial to find she is blamed for the incident. The student being harassed must continue to be victimized or leave. Prevention of victimization is extremely important and should become mandatory in school and in community centers. 


The American Heritage Dictionary, (2000) Predatory, Retrieved on January 8, 2005 from
Sgarzi J. M., & McDevitt, J., (2003) Victimology: A study of crime victims and their 
    roles, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, Prentice Hall.
Longley, R., (2003). FBI Releases 2003 Hate Crime Statistics. Retrieved on January 8, 
    2005 from