Full Professor | Boston University
Crime and Corruption
North America

Computer crime victimization and integrated theory: An empirical assessment.

Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

This study used Routine Activities Theory to empirically evaluate a victimization model for computer crimes: focusing on whether digital-capable guardianship (cybersecurity) and online behavior directly influence computer-crime victimization.


Journal article: Computer crime victimization and integrated theory: An empirical assessment. (2008)


This research used a quantitative approach and sample survey method.

The study used a stratified-cluster, random-sample design among 204 students, and a survey was conducted over a period of 10 months. A limitation of the methodology is that offenders' motivation was not measured: understanding cybercriminals is an essential factor.



This research was independently conducted and did not receive funding from outside of the university.

Additional reading:
  • Publication: Lifestyle-exposure theory by Hindelang et al.[Access resource]
  • Publication: Cohen and Felson’s (1979) routine activities theory[Access resource]
  • For policymakers
  • For Security & Counter-Terrorism
  • United States of America
  • crime
  • digitalisation
  • human security
  • protection
  • victimisation
  • Published: 2023

Key points

  • Cybersecurity is most important in influencing computer-crime victimization.

Despite the fact that victimization has developed into a more serious and pertinent type of crime, there hasn’t been much actual empirical study. By incorporating the additional principles of capable guardianship and individual online lifestyle, the Cyber-Routine Activities Theory was intended to be applied to explain criminal victimizations. By identifying any potential relationships between aspects of an online lifestyle and the degree of computer security protection, as well as the levels of computer crime victimization that students face as a result, this study seeks to contribute to the body of criminology literature.


  • The findings show that among the digital guardian observable variables, both the quantity of computer security programs installed and the length of time such programs have been present had nearly equal substantial effects on reducing victimization from computer crime. By highlighting the significance of computer security and how it helps to decrease victims of computer crime, these findings provide adequate evidence for the capable guardianship theoretical component of routine activities.
  • There is a high correlation between the online lifestyle factor and computer crime victimization. Online lifestyle coefficients proved that individuals who spend a lot of time and engage in risky online behaviors are more likely to become victims. Additionally, among online lifestyle categories, risky online leisure activities contribute the most significantly to computer-crime victimization.
  • The factor that is most substantial to influence computer-crime victimization out of the two is cybersecurity.

What it means

The results demonstrate how cybersecurity and online activity are influencing computer-crime victimization. To reduce the likelihood of being a victim of computer crime, it is crucial to raise public awareness of cybersecurity and educate individuals about online behavior. Without awareness, individuals will continue to be uninformed of the problem.

How to use

  • In order to raise awareness, particularly among youngsters who are growing up with technology, educational curricula about computer-crime victimization and how cybersecurity and online behavior play a role in this are needed
  • The first strategy is to raise awareness by focusing on children and teaching about cybercrime in schools and courses about it
Special thanks to Meliha Verlasevic for preparation assistance

We would like to extend a special thank you to Meliha Verlasevic, for their invaluable contribution in assisting the preparation of this research summary.

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Choi, Kyung-Shick. 'Computer crime victimization and integrated theory: An empirical assessment.'. Acume. https://www.acume.org/r/computer-crime-victimization-and-integrated-theory-an-empirical-assessment/