Victimisation

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Victimisation is the process of becoming, or the fact of having become, or feeling as, a victim.

In criminology and crime statistics, this is often referred to as an objective fact, and the victimisation rate (e.g. for a certain type of crime) is taken as an objective figure.[1]. But victimisation is strongly related to perception of risks: It can also be a social fact - people can 'feel' as victims, whether or not they are victims or affected by a crime, etc.

Fear of crime

In cultural criminology, victimisation is understood as an objective, measurable concept, and criticized for that character. It is contrasted with the concept of 'fear of crime' that addresses the psychological and social aspects of becoming or feeling like a victim, and policy strategies, that focus more on changing public perception than changing the security situation:

"Fear of crime has come to be regarded as a problem in and for itself, quite distinct from actual crime and victimisation, and distinctive policies have been developed to aim to reduce fear levels, rather than to reduce crime."[2]

Security related aspects

  • High victimisation rates, both in objective and in social feeling terms, have high relevance for objective and perceived urban security and risks.
  • Victimisation reflects the threats and risks an urban community is subjected to.
  • Victimisation reflects the security culture of a community.

Approaches how to address it

  • Consider victimisation concepts and trends in security related planning projects.
  • Consider security culture in security related planning projects.
  • Consider perception of local communities in security related planning projects.

Footnotes and references

  1. Cf. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victimisation
  2. Garland D.: The Culture of Control: Crime and Social Order in Contemporary Society. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2001, 10.