a.) Describe psychological research into “who are the victims/fear of crime”.Research has found that young men are most likely to become victims of muggings (64%) and stranger assaults (80%). This is in contrast to the popular perception that women are most likely to be at risk from crime.
Being a previous victim of crime also heightens the chances of becoming a victim again, especially in the case of burglary, because if a burglar found that a certain house was easy to break into, they will feel more confident about doing it again. This repeat victimization is also present in crimes such as domestic violence and child abuse.The British Crime Survey revealed that women were more worried than men about becoming a victim of violent crime.
Black and Asian participants were more worried about all types of crime than white participants, as 41% of Asian participants and 37% of black participants saying they were very worried about burglary, compared to 18% of white participants. It seems that those people who are the least likely to become victims of crime are the people who are most fearful. Goodey argued that the apparent fearlessness of young men was due to social views of masculinity which discourage them admitting their vulnerability.b.) Evaluate psychological research into “who are the victims/fear of crime”.The differing responses to victims by the public are a problem because most of us are sympathetic to victims in general, but when we meet an actual victim we tend to blame them for their victimization to maintain our “just-world” hypothesis and reduce our fear of becoming a victim of crime (Lerner, 1970). This can cause distress to the victim and therefore it can hamper the process of coming to terms with their situation, and for the individual concerned, the fear of crime that they may have had previously could be amplified and it could be difficult to overcome without help.This could have a negative impact on the victim’s life as they may restrict their social activities and therefore the quality of life they have is lowered.
The fact that the victim may be staying at home more also poses another problem in that a person is more likely to become a victim of crime in the home or from someone they already know, such as a close friend or relative. If the person involved has also been a victim of crime previously, this could further impound the problem (Shaw, 1999)One consequence of becoming a victim is self blame, particularly in cases of acquaintance rape, and self blame could lead to the victim being unwilling to report the incident, and thus increasing the “dark figure” found by the British Crime Survey. The constraints of masculinity could also contribute to a lack of crime reporting for incidents of assault or mugging involving a young man as the victim, because they may see it as admitting weakness, be ashamed and so would be unwilling to report the incident (Goodey, 1997).
It is also difficult for the police to tackle individual persistent offenders if the majority of crimes are not reported (75% – Hollin, 1992). This may mean that people are becoming victims unnecessarily as the crimes are not being reported, therefore the offender is not being pursued.c.) Apply the research to practical situations.* Preventing repeat victimisation* Improving treatment and perceptions of victims* Preventing people becoming victims in the first place* Reducing the ‘dark figure’ by increasing the amount of crime reported* Informing the public about what kinds of people really become victims and dispelling incorrect perceptions* Reducing fear of people who think they are more likely to be at risk because of an incorrect perception of crime