The victim in the system: The influence of police responsiveness on victim alienation



Causal modeling procedures were used to examine the interrelations of crime characteristics (severity, acquaintance), criminal justice system experiences (police concern, arrest, satisfaction), and alienation (cynicism, pessimism, hopelessness) in a sample of 220 crime victims. More severe crimes and acquaintance crimes led to greater alienation, but satisfaction led to lower alienation. Police concern had indirect effects on alienation by making victim satisfaction more likely. Tests of these indirect effects indicated that actual arrests were less important in reducing alienation than was the simple assurance from police that they would investigate the crime. Additional analyses showed that these relations did not vary substantially across subgroups in the sample defined by residence, sex, age, and other status factors. Overall, the findings show that the behavior of criminal justice officials can intensify or allay the victim's alienated state.