Victimless crime

Experimental visualization of narrower problems
Other Names:
Crimes without victims
Crimes against public morality

A victimless crime is an illegal act that typically either directly involves only the perpetrator or occurs between consenting adults; because it is consensual in nature, there is arguably no true victim. Examples of these types of crimes include possession of illegal contraband and atypical sexual behavior.

In most countries, current victimless crimes include recreational drug use, while some also include prostitution. However, there is controversy surrounding this. Edwin Schur and Hugo Bedau state in their book Victimless Crimes: Two Sides of a Controversy that "some of these laws produce secondary crime, and all create new 'criminals,' many of whom are otherwise law-abiding citizens and people in authority."

In politics, a lobbyist or an activist might use this phrase with the implication that the law in question should be abolished.

Victimless crimes are, in the harm principle of John Stuart Mill, "victimless" from a position that considers the individual as the sole sovereign, to the exclusion of more abstract bodies such as a community or a state against which criminal offenses may be directed.

Victimless crime has no reason to be defined as criminal because it does not cause harm to anybody, other than perhaps to the perpetrator.
Counter Claim:
Past attitudes tended to absolve drug users of any responsibility for their actions. Today drug abuse is no longer considered a "victimless" crime; it is a crime that imposes a staggering burden on the people and the nations of the world. Use of illegal drugs is associated with increases on crime, drug-related automobile accidents and work accidents, learning disabilities and other mental health problems, family disruption, and health problems. The illicit production, distribution and consumption of drugs have intimidated and corrupted public servants, and have even destabilized Governments. The erratic ebb and flow and sheer volume of "drug money" have affected the money supply and exchange markets. Individuals, particularly those who promote drug-taking by others, must be held accountable for their actions.
Broader Problems:
Related Problems:
Political crime
Problem Type:
C: Cross-sectoral problems
Date of last update
15.06.2018 – 07:36 CEST