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Issues in the Criminal Victimization of the Elderly (From Elderly - Victims and Deviants, P 142-160, 1987, Carl D Chambers, et al, eds. - See NCJ-105603)

NCJ Number
J H Lindquist
Date Published
19 pages
This paper reviews the adequacy of research on elderly victims, considers substantive and methodological issues raised by the research, and proposes future research and means of addressing the problem.
No researcher has yet conducted lengthy, indepth interviews with elderly victims and nonvictims of crime. There is no direct data on the fears of the elderly, their experiences with crime, and the impact of crime and fear of crime on their lifestyle. Most of the research on elderly crime victimization has been conducted by those seeking funding for services to reduce elderly victimization and those who argue that the primary victims of crime are young, poor, black males. The substantive issues raised by the research are which is the most victimized age group, the appropriate data source for analyzing victimization, which age group suffers the most victimiation effects, and whether the elderly's fear of crime is rational. Three methodological issues are the salience of victimization for the victim, the potential underreporting of crimes to interviewers, and survey deficiencies that may produce the nonreporting of some crimes. Future research should address the three methodological issues, the extent to which victims recover medical costs and property losses, and the level of elderly criminal victimization society will tolerate. A reduction in elderly criminal victimization may be achieved by reducing the overall crime level, victim target hardening and avoidance behavior, and by public action to create a safe environment for the elderly. 48 references.