Are Victimless Crimes Real?


via Wikimedia Commons

Crime scene caution tape

The world of legal problems is a broad and complicated one. Politics, lawyers, and other unpredictable things come into play. There are many unclear and gray areas in law, and one of these is the category of victimless crimes. 

First off, what is a victimless crime? Simply put, it’s when a crime is committed without any non-willing participants who suffer for it. An easy example would be to imagine that apples were outlawed, but someone really wanted an apple. If this person went to their friend and paid them ten dollars, and in exchange, the friend gave them an apple from their illegal apple tree, then a crime has been committed. However, there was no victim. Both of the people involved were consenting adults, and no one was harmed. A crime that isn’t victimless has a victim, just like the name suggests. If, in this scenario, the person stole the apple from their friend instead of paying for it, then the friend was robbed, and the crime wasn’t victimless. 

In many places around the United States, there is a homelessness problem, which has resulted in laws outlawing things including, but not limited to, public drunkenness, lying down in public, and loitering. These actions do not harm anything but are considered to be crimes. 

Despite what some people would like others to believe, victimless crimes exist. If someone above the age of eighteen did drugs in their own house by theirself, then there were no unconsenting parties involved. The list of victimless crimes goes on and on. The counterargument, which states that victimless crimes do not truly exist because these offenses go against social standards and can harm individuals, is weak at best. Merely because something goes against the law doesn’t mean it’s necessarily hurting anybody. In some places, if the speed limit says 65, but someone does 67, they can get pulled over. Their crime was victimless. The counterargument states that the consenting adults doing these acts are actually victims, not realizing that they are victims. This is clearly, not true. Victimless crimes lack a complaining participant because they lack a victim.

Victimless crimes are a reality of life. They occur on a daily basis, and it is highly unlikely that they will ever stop happening. It is vital to remember that there wasn’t necessarily a victim just because someone did a bad thing. However, just because there is no victim doesn’t mean a crime was committed. Victimless crimes are an interesting branch of criminal activity due to their unusual nature.