Communities as Victims of Environmental Crime: Lessons from the Field
Environmental victimization is a far-reaching and widespread global problem: ‘An estimated 40 percent of deaths around the world can now be attributed to various environmental factors, especially organic and chemical pollutants’ (Bullard et al. 2009, p. 286). It is well established in the sociological and criminological literature that lowincome people of color in the United States are more likely to be exposed to environmental risks than other groups (Bullard 1983; US General Accounting Office 1983; United Church of Christ 1987; Mohai and Bryant 1992; Stretesky and Lynch 1999). While attention to victims of traditional ‘street’ crimes has increased in recent years, victims’ rights advocates have generally ignored victims of corporate and environmental crimes (Moore and Mills 1990; Stretesky and Lynch 1999). Environmental crimes (and harmful behaviors not necessarily identified as crimes) are responsible for a great deal of harm to the environment and human health; yet social scientists are well aware that ‘traditionally, harmful environmental practices have not been viewed with the same moral repugnance as crimes against person or property’ (Skinnider 2011, p. 19). Green criminologists play an important role in identifying green harms that produce injury and victimization that currently exist beyond the boundaries of the law.