Repeat victimization can be prevented
A review of repeat victimization and its prevention is published.
Crime is not evenly distributed in society, as a small minority both commits and is victimized by crimes far more often than others. Previous experience of violence strongly predicts future violence. This is true for both perpetration of and victimization by violence. There are similar findings about burglary, property crime and sexual offenses. This is why many criminologists believe that the most effective crime prevention strategies focus on the victim rather than the offender.
Based on a literature review, the current report describes the accumulation of crime victimization. Research literature on repeat victimization was searched in the spring and summer of 2012 using various search engines. The report is mainly based on foreign studies, but presents also some Finnish studies and their estimates on the repetitiveness of certain crimes. It also reviews internationally recognized strategies and methods that have sought and succeeded to reduce repeated victimization.
The report finds that the characteristics of repeat victimization are very similar in various European countries. Sexual offences against women are the most typical repetitive crimes. Nearly half of these crimes target the same women several times. Accumulation is more common in crimes against the person than in crimes against property. Despite many challenges, repeat victimization can be prevented. A priority is to carefully design the method to be used, to identify possibilities of situational prevention, and to ensure that the method is correctly implemented.