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Publication Crime Against the Elderly in 26 Cities

Ellen Hochstedler, Criminal Justice Research Center

January 1, 1981    NCJ 76709

The offenses studied were rape, aggravated assault, simple assault, robbery, and larceny with contact. The analysis was focused on finding the characteristics of the victims, the characteristics of the offenders, the nature and setting of the interaction, and whether or not the incident was reported to the police. Many widely held beliefs about victimization of the elderly were challenged by the findings of this study. Briefly, some of the main findings indicated that (1) the bulk of the personal victimization of the elderly included an element of theft (crimes involving violence without theft accounted for only 17 percent of victimizations of the elderly); (2) offenders involved in victimizations against the elderly did not differ greatly from those who were involved in victimizations of younger victims; (3) the elderly were the least likely to be either attacked or injured, and when injured, serious injury was rare; and (4) elderly victims were more likely than younger victims to report the victimization to law enforcement authorities. (Author abstract modified)

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