Definition of Victimless Crime
(noun) A crime that is against the law but that only harms the individuals who consented to engage in it.
Examples of Victimless Crime
- Gambling, prostitution, and recreational drug use are typically discussed as possible victimless crimes. However, whether they actually are “victimless” is debated.
Etymology of Victimless Crime
- Term popularized by Edwin Schur in the Crimes Without Victims: Deviant Behavior and Public Policy: Abortion, Homosexuality, Drug Addictions (1965).
Victimless Crime Pronunciation
Syllabification: vic·tim·less crime
International Phonetic Alphabet
- American English – /ˈvɪktəmləs kraɪm/
- British English – /ˈvɪktɪmləs kraɪm/
- Plural: victimless crimes
- The “victim” in a victimless crime is not a person but a given society and its behaviors, norms, and values.
- Victimless crimes are studied in criminology.
- Vice crimes are often victimless crimes.
- A type of crime.
- Crime and Law Resources – Books, Journals, and Helpful Links
- Word origin of “victimless” and “crime” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com
- Davies, Pamela, Peter Francis, and Chris Greer. 2007. Victims, Crime and Society. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
- Schur, Edwin M., and Hugo Adam Bedau. 1974. Victimless Crimes: Two Sides of a Controversy. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
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Schaefer, Richard. 2013. Sociology: A Brief Introduction. 10th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Siegel, Larry J., and Clemens Bartollas. 2011. Corrections Today. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Siegel, Larry J., and John L. Worrall. 2012. Introduction to Criminal Justice. 13th ed. Belmont: CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Siegel, Larry J., and John L. Worrall. 2013. Essentials of Criminal Justice. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Taylor & Francis. (N.d.) Routledge Handbooks Online. (https://www.routledgehandbooks.com/).
Tischler, Henry L. 2011. Introduction to Sociology. 10th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wiktionary, The Free Dictionary. Wikimedia Foundation. (http://en.wiktionary.org).
Wiley. (N.d.) Wiley Online Library. (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/).
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “victimless crime.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved September 29, 2022 (https://sociologydictionary.org/victimless-crime/).
APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)
victimless crime. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/victimless-crime/
Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “victimless crime.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed September 29, 2022. https://sociologydictionary.org/victimless-crime/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“victimless crime.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 29 Sep. 2022. <https://sociologydictionary.org/victimless-crime/>.