Serial victimization

Other Names:
Repeat victims

Victims of crimes are likely to have been victims of previous crimes. While the majority of the population have never been the direct target of criminal acts, a minority are targeted repeatedly.

In the case of property crimes, the reasons are, in many cases, rational: if the first burglar finds the property accessible and profitable, he is likely to tell his friends about it. Houses are likely to be re-burgled very quickly, before householders have had time to replace damaged doors or windows. After four months, when most insurance claims have been settled, there is another sharp increase in the chances of being targeted again.

There are indications that similar trends can be found in assault crimes. This is not a case of blaming the victims. Research shows that many victims were abused as children, and therefore have been hampered in learning clear boundaries. They are therefore more likely to let strangers approach them than are people who were never assaulted as children. Serial victims, whatever their backgrounds, may, understandably, have an aura of fear and vulnerability which offenders can sense.


A 1995 analysis of British crime indicated that 4% of crime victims experience more than 43% of crime, while 59% of the population have never been the victims of crime.

Broader Problems:
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 4: Quality EducationGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
Problem Type:
F: Fuzzy exceptional problems
Date of last update
07.12.2017 – 14:34 CET