Pablo Carlos Pineda, a 32-year-old homeless male, has been charged with raping four females in Santa Monica and Los Angeles, California. The crimes were performed between January and July of 2016 (Emerson, 2016). Currently, Pineda’s case is analyzed by prosecutors. In order to discuss the male’s crimes in detail, it is important to focus on the relationship between the suspect and victims from the perspective of Hans von Hentig’s theory.
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Pineda attacked his female victims when they were walking near the waterline in the evening. The victims were not accompanied by other persons. According to von Hentig’s typology of victims, females were selected as the target of the aggressor’s actions because they are usually perceived as being weaker than males (Jaishankar & Ronel, 2013).
Thus, females cannot repel the aggressor, and they become potential victims if they are unaccompanied in a public place (Zaykowski & Campagna, 2014). In addition, Pineda did not pay much attention to the time when he attacked victims, and crimes were performed before the sunset (Emerson, 2016). From this point, the aggressor did not expect that females could repel the sexual attack and attract the public’s attention.
When the first victim did not demonstrate the effective repulse, Pineda understood that, in his relationship with a victim, he had more power. As a result, attacks became more aggressive, and, in April, Pineda not only raped the woman but also beat her using a brick (Emerson, 2016). The fourth victim was kidnapped because the criminal realized his impact on females. From this point, the victims were determinants of the crime. The effective repulse and active women’s actions could prevent Pineda from continuing his crimes. According to von Hentig’s theory, the control and prevention of crimes depend on the nature of relationships between victims and aggressors (Jaishankar & Ronel, 2013). Thus, Pineda continued attacking and raping women because female victims allowed him to treat them in that manner.
In addition, victims can behave in such a way that their actions provoke attacks of aggressors. This notion is known as victim precipitation (Zaykowski & Campagna, 2014). A crime is a specific type of social interaction, and both Pineda and his victims contributed to the observed outcomes. Therefore, those females who became the victims of the suspect could provoke the man in any manner.
The women could walk in lonely places, they could wear provocative clothes, and they could stare at the suspect or demonstrate their fear. It is almost impossible to state that only the offender’s behavior led to the final dramatic outcomes (Zaykowski & Campagna, 2014). If women could pay attention to their safety, they would avoid the attack of Pineda.
It is important to note that Von Hentig’s approach to discussing the relationship between a suspect and a victim is more appropriate to be used for the analysis of this case because the theorist proposed the general framework for discussing situations in which it is possible to speak about victim precipitation.
In this context, his theory provides more answers to the problem of the victim’s behavior in the situation of sexual assault than theories by Mendelsohn or Schafer (Jaishankar & Ronel, 2013). Furthermore, von Hentig’s theory allows for concluding about the possibility to prevent similar crimes in the future while modifying the behavior of potential victims. Therefore, von Hentig’s theory is appropriate to be applied to the discussed case.
Emerson, C. (2016, July 23). Homeless man, Carlos Pineda, charged with 4 local rapes. The Santa Monica Observer.
Jaishankar, K., & Ronel, N. (2013). Global criminology: Crime and victimization in a globalized era. New York, NY: CRC Press.
Zaykowski, H., & Campagna, L. (2014). Teaching theories of victimology. Journal of Criminal Justice Education, 25(4), 452-467.