The Homosexual as a Crime Victim

  • Edward Sagarin
  • Donal E. J. Macnamara
Part of the The Plenum Series in Crime and Justice book series (PSIC)


The development of the criminological subdiscipline of victimology has demonstrated convincingly that there are subsocietal groups for whom the probability of their members becoming victims of crime is disproportionate to their numbers. The risk rate is higher for these groups than for others, for a variety of reasons: (a) they are more likely to have what the criminal wants, or the criminal so believes; (b) they are more frequently present in high-crime areas, in situations in which plots are hatched and crimes committed, or where there are temptations that lead to victimisation; (c) they are defined as physically weaker than others and hence are liable to be “chosen” as easy targets by offenders; (d) they are believed to have relatively little access to law enforcement agencies and seats of power; (e) they are viewed as persons unlikely to use law enforcement agencies; (f) they are engaged in activities that lend themselves to manipulation by predators; (g) they participate in high-risk activities, either because of personality traits or because of goals that make the risk a necessity for assurance of success; and (h) they live on the periphery of society, and receive so little social support for their activities that the normal constraints of ordinary persons are neutralised, because the latter define the victim as worthless.


Organise Crime Crime Victim Homosexual Behaviour Parole Officer Homosexual Activity 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    While we know of no previous work on the subject of this paper, we should strongly recommend that anyone doing research on the subject of homosexuality start with Martin S. Weinberg Alan P. Bell (Eds), Homosexuality: An Annotated Bibliography. New York, Harper Row, 1972, from which we received several useful references.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    A. C. Kinsey et al., Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male. Philadelphia, Saunders. 1948.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    The Kinsey statistics were challenged by two former associates of the Institute for Sex Research (widely known as the Kinsey Institute). See J. H. Gagnon W. Simon, Sexual Conduct: The Social Sources of Human Sexuality. Chicago, Aldine. 1973.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    A journal article that described the manner in which newspaper accounts of “homosexual crime” were written in the 1930s is F. A. McHenry, A note on homosexuality, crime and the newspapers, Journal of Criminal Psychopathology 1941, 2, 533–48. Equally pertinent is E. O. Coon, Homosexuality in the news, Archives of Criminal Psychopathology 1957, 2, 843–65; also an editorial, Criminal factors in homosexuality, Corrective Psychiatry and Journal of Social Therapy 1967, 13, 181–83.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice, Task Force Report: Crime and Its Impact-An Assessment. Washington, Government Printing Office. 1967, p.12.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    E. A. Fattah, La Victime: Est-Elle Coupable? Le Role de la Victime dons le Meurtre en Vue de Vol. Montreal, Les Presses de l’Université de Montreal 1971.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    E. Schramm h E. Kaiser, Der homosexuelle Mann also Opfer von Kapitalverbrechen, Kriminolistik 1962, 16, 255–60; T. Bandini F. Filauro, I delitto contro la persona dell’omosessuale, Medicina legale e delle Assicurazioni 1964, 12, 697–717.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    M. Helpern, in Answers to questions, Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality 1973, 7 (May), 225.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    G. Walker, Cruising. New York, Stein and Day. 1970.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    M. Houts, They Asked for Death, New York, Cowles Book Co. 1970.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    A brief discussion of this type of self-justificatory rationalisation appears in E. Sagarin, Sex raises its revolutionary head, in R. S. Denisoff C. H. McCaghy (Eds), Deviance, Conflict, and Criminality. Chicago, Rand McNally. 1973.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    E. Schur, Crimes without Victims. Englewood Cliffs, N.J., Prentice-Hall. 1965.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    See H. M. Hyde, The Love That Dared Not Speak Its Name: A Candid History of Homosexuality in Britain. Boston, Little, Brown. 1970.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    There is a considerable literature on sexual assaults in prison and on prison homosexuality, much of it abstracted in Weinberg Bell, op. cit. See also: Alan J. Davis, Report on Sexual Assaults in the Philadelphia Prison System and Sheriff’s Vans, mimeographed, 1968. G. L. Kirkham, Homosexuality in prison, in James M. Henslin (Ed.), Studies in the Sociology of Sex. New York, Appleton-Century-Crofts. 1971. Peter C. Buffum, Homosexuality in Prisons, Washington, U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice 1972. C. Vedder P. King, Problems of Homosexuality in Corrections. Springfield, 111. Charles C. Thomas. 1965. C.E. Smith, The homosexual federal offender, Journal of Criminology, Criminology and Police Science 1954, 44, 582–92.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    This information is taken from a talk before a college class, given by a speaker from the Fortune Society, an organisation of ex-inmates, and it purports to be the speaker’s own experience.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    J. Drzazga, Sex Crimes. Springfield, 111. Charles C. Thomas 1960.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    McHenry, op. cit.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    W. Bromberg, Crime and the Mind. New York, Macmillan. 1965.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    M. E. Wolfgang, Victim-precipitated criminal homicide, Journal of Criminal Law, Criminology and Police Science 1957, 48, 1–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Blumstein, Alfred, Jacqueline Cohen, Jeffery A. Roth, and Christy A. Visher, eds. (1986). Criminal Careers and Career Criminals. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  21. Sykes, G., Matza, D. (1957). “Techniques of neutralization: A theory of delinquency.” American Sociological Review, 22 (6) 664–670.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward Sagarin
  • Donal E. J. Macnamara

There are no affiliations available

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