OPPORTUNITY & LIFESTYLE EXPOSURE
ENTER THE VICTIM
n For a crime to occur
n Important to understand how victim's own behaviour
ENTER THE VICTIMIZATION SURVEYS
n Life-style exposure, opportunity and routine activities theory evolved in
the 1970's, when victimization surveys started to gain in popularity
n Victimization surveys tried to figure out who was being victimized, who
was doing the victimization, what sort of victimization was involved, what the
relationship was between victim and victimizer (if any), where and when
incidents of victimization take place, how often victimization occurred, etc. RISING CRIME RATES
Also a time when crime rates were rising dramatically, and victims were
demanding the government take action to protect them.
n Victimology, opportunity theory, lifestyle exposure
theory, routine activities theory and rational choice
theory are quite similar.
n All tend to view criminal event in terms of time-space
continuum (or environmental backcloth), and examine
ways in which offenders and victims intersect in time
and space, in the absence of a capable guardian.
LIFESTYLE EXPOSURE THEORY
n Introduced in 1978 , by Hindelang and Gottfredson and Garofalo.
n Same Gottfredson who co-authored AGeneral theory of Crime with Travis
LIFESTYLE EXPOSURE THEORY cont. n Lifestyles of individuals and groups follow certain
patterns, e.g., where they go, when they go there, who
they go with (or who they meet there), what they do
when they get there.
n Offenders don’t select victims at random; instead,
they follow similar lifestyle patterns to their victims,
and often resemble victims in terms of age, gender,
social class and ethnic origin.
OFFENDERS & VICTIMS
EIGHT (INDECENT) PROPOSITIONS
n The more time you spend (esp. at night) in public places, the more likely
you are to become a victim.
n Lifestyle choices influence the likelihood that you will spend more or less
time in public places.
n People interact with other people who share similar lifestyles. n The chances are higher of being victimized by someone who has the same
demographic profile as you, in terms of age, gender, social class and
EIGHT PROPOSITIONS cont.
n Lifestyle choices influence the amount of time you spend with non-family
members (or capable guardian)
n The chances of becoming a victim of crime increase with amount of time
you spend with non-family members.
n Lifestyle choices (or differences) influence your ability to isolate yourself
n Variations in your lifestyle can influence how convenient and easy it is to
SOME SUPPORTING EVIDENCE
n 2004 GSS found that rates of violent victimization were highest for young people
between 15-24, and lowest for those over age of 65 n Young people more likely to engage in public activities during the evening, whereas
older people more likely to spend their evenings at home, or if not, at least in low-risk
SUPPORTING EVIDENCE cont.
Rates of violent victimization much higher for individuals who were single
or separated/divorced, and who engaged more frequently in evenings
activities outside of the home.
n Introduced in 1979, by Lawrence Cohen and Marcus Felson.
n Same Marcus Felson who brought us Ten Fallacies about Crime.
n Similar to lifestyle exposure theory – came out at roughly the same time, both based on
ROUTINEACTIVITIES THEORY cont.
n Routine activities theory tried to explain why crime rates had risen so
dramatically throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s. n Rising crime rates called into question much of prevailing wisdom
concerning causes of crime.
n Income levels rising, unemployment falling, fewer people living below the
n Why were crime rates going up in times of economic prosperity, instead of
THE THREE MAIN ELEMENTS
THREE ELEMENTS NEEDED FOR DIRECT-
CONTACT PREDATORY VIOLATION TO
1. a motivated offender
2. a suitable target
3. absence of a capable guardian WHERE WE GO (AND HOW WE GET THERE)
-Leisure (Shopping and Entertainment)
WORKING ON THE CHAIN GANG
n Husbands, wives and teenagers working.
n Traveling to and from work.
n Leaving home and personal effects unprotected.
READING, RITINGAND RITHMETIC
-More people going to schools.
-More schools to go to. -More time spent in schools.
SHOP ‘TILYOU DROP
n Routine activities theorists, rational choice theorists and environmental criminologists all
argue that crime is caused less by economic deprivation, and more by economic prosperity.
n In distinct contrast to Merton’s strain theory, which said crime is caused by blocked
opportunities (striving to attain culturally valued goals of prosperity and advancement, without
legitimate institutionalized means in place to make this feasible).
n In distinct contrast to Shaw and McKay’s social disorganization theory, which put crime
down to high residential density, high residential mobility, ethnic and cultural heterogeneity,
poverty and broken homes.
ECONOMIC PROSPERITY -New opportunities to steal things.
ADVANCES IN RAT AND VICTIMOLOGY
n Cohen, Kluegel and Land’s work on social inequality and victimization.
n Miethe and Meier's structural choice model of victimization.
n Marcus Felson's concept of the metroreef.
SOCIAL INEQUALITYAND VICTIMIZATION
n Cohen, Kluegel & Land (1981) agree that target
attractiveness and the presence (or absence of a capable
guardian) are contributing factors in the criminal
n Also argue that most property crime is motivated by
desire for economic gain – not simply because of the thrill or risk-taking element involved, or because the
opportunity presents itself.
SOCIAL INEQUALITYAND VICTIMIZATION
n Suggest that income levels have a measurable effect
on crime rates.
n Unemployed or lower income individuals living in
urban centres at greater risk of victimization.
n Higher income individu