Theories of Criminal Victimization

  • William F. McDonald
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Victims and Victimology book series (PSVV)


There are two kinds of theories of criminal victimization: individual (micro) and aggregate/structural (macro) correlates. Victimologists have focused upon the characteristics of victims and victim-precipitated crime. Findings that young, unmarried males had higher rates of victimization than their demographic counterparts led to theories about lifestyles/routine activities. The association between social structures and aggregate victimization rates supported the theory of collective efficacy and clarified the social disorganization theory advanced by Shaw and McKay. Opportunity theory and Blau’s theory of heterogeneity help explain the effects of heterogeneity and residential segregation.


Heterogeneity Victim-precipitated crime Micro Macro Theory Opportunity Lifestyles Routine activities Collective efficacy Social disorganization 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • William F. McDonald
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyGeorgetown UniversityWashington, DCUSA

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