Most of us like to separate ourselves from the word “crime.” I’d never commit a crime, we say.
Yet what we may not consider is that most of us at some time or another are the perpetrators of a victimless crime.
Have you ever rolled through a stop sign, or lost money at poker night? Maybe you were celebrating and had one too many at the local pub. Or you might have lost your job or had a breakup and tried to talk it through with your friend Johnny Walker and then made a fool of yourself in front of a bunch of people. Perhaps you are a real daredevil and walked through a private lot to get to your destination a little bit quicker. Traffic violations, gambling, public drunkenness and trespassing are all victimless crimes.
A victimless crime is where there is no identifiable victim. The offense is against the cultural norms of a community, that community’s values, attitude and beliefs. Thus, what is considered a crime in one country, or state or even county may not be considered a crime in another.
An example of a victimless crime is smoking marijuana, or using any other illegal drug for that matter. A person may be using a drug to “self medicate” and is not harming anyone else by doing so. Anyone who suffers from depression or anxiety knows that anything that can take the sharp edge off these overwhelming moods is practically a life saving device.
Using pot or marijuana helps many people feel closer to “normal.” In fact, some people claim that pot enables them to function in an appropriate or productive way. Yet, this behavior is considered criminal in many, but not all, states.
Some people consider prostitution a victimless crime. It is not even illegal in all states. In several counties in Nevada, brothels, but not “pandering,” are legal. Brothels are legal in these counties because under the Tenth Amendment prostitution is under the purview of the states. While most states consider prostitution a misdemeanor, it is tolerated or on the books as legal in several European countries including the United Kingdom, Austria, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Columbia, Brazil and in many areas of Asia and Japan.
What do you think? Have you ever committed a crime, even a victimless one?