RESISTING CRIME: THE EFFECTS OF VICTIM ACTION ON THE OUTCOMES OF CRIMES

Authors

  • JONGYEON TARK,

    1. Jongyeon Tark is a Ph.D. candidate at Florida State University and a lieutenant of the Korea National Police. His research focuses on victimization, criminological theory, and law enforcement. He is currently examining the effect of crime victimization on marital disruption using the longitudinal features of the NCVS. He is also studying whether and why racial and ethnic group membership affects victimization reporting decisions.
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  • GARY KLECK

    1. Gary Kleck is professor of criminology and criminal justice at Florida State University. He received his doctorate in sociology from the University of Illinois in 1979, where he received the University of Illinois Foundation Fellowship in Sociology. He has been at Florida State since 1978. His research has focused on the topics of the impact of firearms and gun control on violence, deterrence, crime control, and violence. He is the author of Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America, which won the 1993 Michael J. Hindelang Award of the American Society of Criminology. More recently, he is the author of Targeting Guns (1997) and, with Don B. Kates, Jr., The Great American Gun Debate (1997) and Armed (2001). His articles have appeared in the American Sociological Review, American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, Social Problems, Criminology, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Law & Society Review, the Journal of the American Medical Association and other journals.
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Abstract

This study assessed the impact of sixteen types of victim self protection (SP) actions on three types of outcomes of criminal incidents: first, whether the incident resulted in property loss, second, whether it resulted in injury to the victim, and, third, whether it resulted in serious injury. Data on 27, 595 personal contact crime incidents recorded in the National Crime Victimization Survey for the 1992 to 2001 decade were used to estimate multivariate models of crime outcomes with logistic regression. Results indicated that self-protection in general, both forceful and nonforceful, reduced the likelihood of property loss and injury, compared to nonresistance. A variety of mostly forceful tactics, including resistance with a gun, appeared to have the strongest effects in reducing the risk of injury, though some of the findings were unstable due to the small numbers of sample cases. The appearance, in past research, of resistance contributing to injury was found to be largely attributable to confusion concerning the sequence of SP actions and injury. In crimes where both occurred, injury followed SP in only 10 percent of the incidents. Combined with the fact that injuries following resistance are almost always relatively minor, victim resistance appears to be generally a wise course of action.

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