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Applying Theory to Violent Victimization

Applying Theory to Violent Victimization
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As usual, 24-year-old Carla left her apartment around 10:00 p.m. to jog to her boyfriend Casey’s apartment two miles away. She planned to spend the night with him and jog back home the next morning. Carla lived in a fairly safe neighborhood in Centervale, but Casey lived in a dilapidated apartment complex that was mostly hidden off the main road, between a bar called Bikers-R-Us and a two-story county office complex used by probation officers and drug rehab counselors.
Carla usually arrived between 10:15 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., but when she failed to reach his place by 11:00 p.m., Casey got worried. He started calling Carla on her cell phone, but the calls kept going to her voice mail. He called and informed the police. Before calling the police, however, he hid the methamphetamine that he had already prepared for a couple of Carla’s clients who were supposed to arrive at midnight. He also hid the marijuana that he was planning to smoke with Carla.
The police found Carla’s body within ten minutes in an area covered with trees, between the main road and the apartment complex where Casey lived. An investigation showed that Carla had been sexually assaulted. She had died of strangulation.
Prepare a report analyzing at least three victimization theories. Based on your analysis, answer the following questions:
• How do these theories relate to Carla’s case of victimization?
• According to you, which victimization theory is most relevant to this case and why?
• According to you, which victimization theory is least relevant in this case and why?
• Do you feel that Carla precipitated or was partially to blame for the crime? Give reasons for your answer.
Victimologists try to identify, define, describe, and measure crime. After years of research and investigation, victimologists have identified the following four primary theories to define and describe all major crimes that occur the world over.
• Victim precipitation theory
• Lifestyle theory
• Deviant place theory
• Routine activity theory
Victim precipitation theory argues that victims provoke the attacks against them. For example, if a woman flirts openly with men in a nightclub, she might attract an unruly crowd. This type of precipitation often results in victim blaming, and therefore, convictions are difficult to achieve.
Lifestyle theory posits that individuals place themselves in harm’s way by their lifestyle choices, that is, by going out at night alone, living in bad parts of the town, associating with known felons, being promiscuous, and doing drugs.
Deviant place theory suggests that individuals become victims because they are in a location where crime is more likely to occur. They do not necessarily have a risky lifestyle or precipitate a crime in any way but simply find themselves in a bad area and therefore put themselves at risk for becoming victims.
Routine activity theory is closely related to the crime triangle hypothesis. According to the crime triangle hypothesis, crime is explained by understanding the routine typical of most individuals. Normal routines generally create a set of circumstances, such as the availability of suitable targets, the absence of capable guardians, and the presence of motivated offenders that increase the likelihood of crime. Examples of lifestyle routines are going on routine vacations, leaving home for work at the same time in the morning, and closing up a business at the same hour every night.

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