Determinants of Target Victim Selection: A Case Study of Criminals from Gambaga Prisons

Date01 April 2020
Published date01 April 2020
Subject MatterArticles
Determinants of Target
Victim Selection:
A Case Study of
Criminals from
Gambaga Prisons
Francess Dufie Azumah1 ,
John Onzaberigu Nachinaab1,
Samuel Krampah1 and
Pius Nzeh Ayim1
The study was conducted to explore the determinants of target victim selection
by criminals, mode of operations adopted by criminals and the factors considered
in the selection of victims by criminals. The study adopted a qualitative approach
where simple random and purposively sampling techniques were used to select a
sample size of 50 inmates in the Gambaga prisons. Interview guide was the main
tool used for the data collection for this study. The study found that victimization
influences criminal intentions and behaviour of an individual. The inmates noted
that they like to attack victims in isolation and in dark places, especially at night.
The study further found that criminals operated in gangs, in areas with darkness
and in the night using caps and tattered dresses that anonymized them. They also
used fear to traumatize their victims, monitor their victims, as well as operated
with guns and knives and under special requests of other individuals in society.
Victimization, criminal operations, victims vulnerability factors
Journal of Victimology
and Victim Justice
3(1) 93–112, 2020
2020 National Law
Universit y Delhi
Reprints and permissions:
DOI: 10.1177/2516606920927258
1 Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology and Social Work PMB, Kwame Nkrumah
University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.
Corresponding author:
Francess Dufie Azumah, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology and Social Work PMB,
KNUST, Kumasi, Ghana.
94 Journal of Victimology and Victim Justice 3(1)
A risk factor in criminality is what goes on in the mind of criminals in selecting
their target victims.2 What will someone do to increase the possibility of being a
victim of criminal activity? The incidence of criminal activities over the years has
been on the rise (Mitlin & Satterthwaite, 2013). Criminals may not necessarily
view themselves as bad people when selecting their target victims they commit
crime against. This study’s pattern takes a gander at social setting of a man’s
circumstance, inspecting his race, neighbourhood, knowledge, instruction, family,
political and media impact, wage level, occupation and profession, and youth
history to decide why criminals carry out wrongdoing without taking a gander at
how the criminals select the targets.3
The bar for conviction of criminal cases is uncertain or in excess of 90 per cent
sureness of blame (Yochelson & Samenow, 1976, 1977, 1986). This benchmark of
evidential confirmation, alongside experiences into the culprit’s perspective,
created the outstanding profession from judges to ‘demonstrate your case’.
Scientists did only that as the labs of legal science were conceived.4 Deoxyribonucleic
acid (DNA) investigation alone, on the one hand, has turned out to be progressive
in winning cases and, on the other hand, liberating many wrongly indicted detain-
ees as seen in the Innocents Projects made by lawyer Barry Scheck and Peter
Neufeld. DNA prove associates the blamed to wrongdoing scenes.5 The 10 new
instruments and enhanced results of measurable investigative sciences clarify why
the culprit ‘wrote’ the ‘convenient work’ of wrongdoing scenes. The new rising
enthusiasm of law authorized offices is presently more into how criminals select
their casualties.6 Furthermore, it was identified that criminals are influenced by
economic factors in identifying and selecting victims.7 This is because it limits the
number of potential targets as well as limits the rewards or benefits from criminal
activities.8 In advancing this argument, Hannon9 was of the view that crime rates
drop owing to limited suitable targets due to limited resources within neighbour-
hoods. This suggest that the absence of suitable targets reduces the likelihood of
victimisation, as argued by the Routine Activity Theory.10 In corroborating this
finding, Felson et al. (n.d.) in their words indicated that ‘when you have people
going outside less and spending less money, crime can go down …. On the other
hand, consumers are purchasing fewer luxury items, so there’s just less to steal ….’
2 J. Samaha, Criminal law (6th ed., 1999).
3 S.E. SamEnow, inSidE thE Criminal mind (1984).
4 B.E. turvEy, Criminal Profiling: an introduCtion to BEhavioral EvidEnCE analySiS (2nd ed.,
5 r.l. StEvEnSon, thE StrangE CaSE of dr. JEkyll and mr. hydE (1995).
6 Samaha, supra note 1.
7 r. voPlagEl, ProfilES in murdEr (1998).
8 B. PlumEr, CrimE Conundrum (2010), available at
9 L. Hannon, Criminal Opportunity Theory and the Relationship Between Poverty and Property
Crime, 22 SoCiol SPECt 363–381 (2002).
10 L.E. Cohen & M. Felson, Social Change and Crime Rate Trends: A Routine Activity Approach, 44
am SoCiol rEv 588–608 (1979).

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