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Perceived Danger and Offending: Exploring the Links Between Violent Victimization and Street Crime

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Abstract:

Perceptions of the danger of crime are typically discussed in the context of people's fear that they will be harmed by offenders. We shift the focus and examine the association between perceived danger and offending and the contribution of these perceptions to the well-established relationship between violent victimization and crime. We hypothesize that violence may embolden some victims and contribute to their perception that offending is not dangerous. We examine the mediating effects of these perceptions alongside two other potential links between violent victimization and crime: deviant definitions and risk seeking. Our analyses of data from a sample of homeless youth find that violent victimization is strongly associated with four types of offending—theft, drug use, drug selling, and prostitution—and that perceived danger significantly mediates several of these relationships. Our results suggest that perceived danger may be an important mechanism connecting victimization and crime.

Keywords: CHILD ABUSE; CRIME; HOMELESS YOUTH; PERCEIVED DANGER; VIOLENT VICTIMIZATION

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1891/0886-6708.28.1.16

Publication date: February 1, 2013

More about this publication?
  • Violence and Victims discusses theory, research, policy, and clinical practice in the area of interpersonal violence and victimization across such disciplines as psychology, sociology, criminology, law, medicine, nursing, psychiatry, and social work.

    The journal's 2012 Impact Factor is 0.981.
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