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NCJ Number: 74189 Find in a Library
Title: Aged Victim's Decision To Invoke the Criminal Justice Process
Author(s): J Liang; M C Sengstock
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 24
Sponsoring Agency: American Assoc of Retired Persons
Washington, DC 20049
Andrus Family Fund
New York, NY 10017
National Retired Teachers Assoc
Washington, DC 20006
Type: Survey
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A study of the aged victim's decision to report a crime to the police found that seriousness of the crime was positively related to the likelihood of reporting, although the victim's sex and the size of the community were also factors.
Abstract: Research on criminal victimization of the elderly has focused on patterns of crime, consequences of victimization and fear of crime, neglecting the victim's interaction with the criminal justice system. Since nonreporting can prevent law enforcement agencies from acting against crime and deprive the elderly victim of needed services, studies of decisions to call the police are especially important. Several research projects on crime reporting are reviewed, with particular attention to the seriousness of crime as a predictor of reporting. This study analyzed data collected through the 1973-1976 National Crime Survey conducted by the Census Bureau for LEAA on persons over 60 who were victimized once by rape, robbery, assault, burglary, larceny, or car theft. Respondents were asked if the police had been informed of the incident. The seriousness of the victimization was measured by the Sellin-Wolfgang scale. Demographic data such as marital status, race, and sex of respondents was included in the survey, along with neighborhood characteristics derived from the 1970 census. In an analysis of personal crime data, male victims tended to have suffered more serious personal crime and the more serious the victimization, the more likely the victim was to report it to the police. Examination of property crime data supported the positive influence of seriousness on reporting crime and indicated that aged victims suffered more serious property crime in larger communities. Evidence regarding the impact of education, unemployment, and marital status was inconclusive, but the seriousness of the victimization appeared to mitigate the effects of all variables examined. These findings offer some support to the belief that nonreporting among the elderly can be attributed to the minor nature of criminal incidents and that serious crimes are usually reported. Tables and 26 references are provided.
Index Term(s): Crimes against the elderly; Unreported crimes; Victimization surveys
Note: Paper presented at the 1979 Annual Meeting of the Gerontological Society, Washington, DC
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