Learn participating adults. Therefore, there is no victim.

Learn what constitutes victimless crimes. Review the definition of the term and examine different types of victimless crimes. Finally, review several examples of victimless crimes that likely occur every day.

Victimless Crimes

A fun weekend trip to Las Vegas, also known as ‘Sin City,’ stereotypically includes the opportunities to engage in several victimless crimes, such as public drunkenness, prostitution, illegal drug use and of course, gambling.

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A victimless crime is an act that is illegal but has no direct victim. Typically, the parties involved are voluntarily acting. Also, the parties may be consenting adults. Therefore, there is no harm directly and specifically imposed upon another person and as a result, there is no victim.

Types

Let’s take a look at some of the victimless crimes that do not specifically and directly harm another person.

These include the following:

  • Prostitution
  • Drug use
  • Trespassing
  • Traffic citations
  • Public drunkenness
  • Suicide
  • Gambling

Examples

Let’s look at a couple of examples to get a better understanding of what constitutes a victimless crime.Imagine that Florence wants to snort cocaine. When she does this, it is in the confines of her home and only she becomes high on the drug. While the activity is illegal, there is no injury done to another person and, therefore, no victim. Consequently, this is an example of a victimless crime.

Now, imagine that Mary is a prostitute and Bob is a customer. Bob pays Mary for sex, and Mary provides the service to Bob. The two are engaged in a consensual, adult activity. There are no victims who sustain damage or injury.

As a result, this is also a victimless crime.

Lesson Summary

Victimless crimes are crimes that do not directly and specifically harm another party. Moreover, the parties involved in the crimes are usually consulting and voluntarily participating adults. Therefore, there is no victim. Some examples of victimless crimes are public drunkenness, prostitution, illegal drug use and suicide.

Learning Outcomes

Once you’ve completed this lesson, you’ll be able to:

  • Define victimless crime
  • Describe examples of victimless crimes
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