Routine Victimization? A Look at the Dual Roles of Opportunity and Routine Activities in Sex Offenders' Victim Selection

Shawna Cleary, University of Central Oklahoma
Michael Willis, University of Central Oklahoma

The purpose of this study was to explore whether sex offenders' victim selection patterns adhered to that predicted by Cohen and Felson in their Routine Activities Theory. In-depth interviews with a sample of sex offenders from a residential treatment program inside a medium security prison explored the roles of opportunity and routine activities in sex offenders' victim selection. The information gathered from the interviews supported the role of opportunity in sex offenders' victim selection through their physical proximity to victims and/or their knowledge of victims' emotional availability. Additionally, support was found for Cohen and Felson's Routine Activities Theory in the sexual offending patterns of the respondents in this study, suggesting that available targets and lack of guardianship play important roles in victim selection.

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Updated 05/20/2006