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Select and discuss two victimization theories, and compare and contrast how they address the various behaviors that lead to individuals becoming victims

Theoretically, criminology attempts to explain theories of how and why crime occurs through examining different facts that are in one way or another related to crime and criminal behavior. Currently, there have been a number of theories which attempt to give an explanation of some of the causes of victimization. Some of the leading four different types of victimization theories include; deviant place theory, lifestyle theory, victim precipitation theory and routine activities theory. There are also other theories such as Mendelsohn’s theory of victimization, Stephen Schafer’s functional responsibility, Von Hentig’s theory of victimization, Karmen’s theory of victimization, Wolfgang’s study of homicide among others. This paper will, however, discuss two victimization theories: lifestyle theory and routine activity theory through comparing and contrasting how both address the various behaviors which lead to people becoming victims.

To start with, lifestyle theory purports that people are targeted depending on their lifestyles choices which expose them to become victims of crime. Criminologist believes that Individuals lifestyle increases their exposure to crime. The risk of victimization is increased with such lifestyle like going to public places at night, relating with younger men, living in crime prone parts such as urban areas, excessive use of alcohol, taking drugs among other behaviors. Victimization according to lifestyle theory is not random but a part of individuals lifestyle which the victims pursue (Siegel, 2017). On the other hand, routine activity theory usually explains victimization rate through a set of three different variables which reflects the routine of people’s behavior. The three variables include; (1) the availability of appropriate target such as leaving home for vacation, (2) the lack of capable guardianship such as neighbours, homeowners, lack of police protection, lack of alarms and different security devices, and (3) the availability of motivated offenders such as teenage boys, unemployed people, known felons, addicts and others LaineHarper (2014). According to this theory, the availability of one or more of the above factors usually creates an increased risk of victimization.

How are the theories different in their victim assessments? Explain.

These two theories differ in their victim assessment through how both theories view the behavior which usually put individuals at risk of being victimized. Lifestyle theory usually conceives this risks in probabilistic means where specific behavior increases an individual’s odds of being an offenders target to crime. On the other hand, routine activity theory usually describes the event of victimization itself. For instance, if the three variables converge (lack of capable guardian, the presence of suitable target and availability of motivated offenders) victimization is said to happen. However, if one of the variables is missing, routine activity theory is said to be avoided (Pratt & Turanovic, 2015).

How are the theories similar in the victim assessments? Explain.

Both lifestyle theory and routine activity theories have some similarities in the victim assessment. To start with, both theories usually assume that the victim’s living arrangement can affect his/her risk and that those individuals who live in unguarded areas have greater risks of being victims of crime. Both theories rely on the four concepts; exposure time to criminals, criminals proximity, guardianship and target attractiveness. Additionally, both theories have five predictions in common how people increase their risk to victimization; (1) going out late at night, (2) carrying valuables items, (3) living in high-crime areas, (4) engaging in risky behaviours such as taking drugs and alcohol and (5) being without guardians to help or watch. In conclusion, routine activity theory and lifestyle theory both see victimization through the convergence lens of an attractive victim/target, a motivated offender as well as the absenteeism of a capable guardianship. These theories give out the fact that activities and lifestyle of different individuals put them in situations or environment where they are less or more prone to possible offenders and at risk of victimization.


LaineHarper (2014). The Four theories of victimization. Retrieved from

Pratt, T.C., & Turanovic, J.J. (2015). Lifestyle and routine activity theories revisited: The importance of “risk” to the study of victimization. Victims & Offenders. 11(3): 335–354. Retrieved from

Siegel, L. J. (2017). Criminology: the core. 6th ed., [International ed.]. Boston, MA: United States: Cengage Learning. Retrieved from,+and+compare+and+contrast&source=bl&ots=juPafm3d8u&sig=s26wboWqJj9yLm-6MbK5cRZ1rIs&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjS18vzyuvRAhVqAsAKHTodCIUQ6AEIQjAH#v=onepage&q=victimization%20theories%2C%20and%20compare%20and%20contrast&f=false

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