Peeping Toms and CSI

I’ve always found CSI to be well researched and pretty accurate, so I was a little taken aback by an episode I just caught.

Grissom and his crew are on the trail of a Peeping Tom, and, in discussing the case, Grissom states that these people were sexual predators in waiting, and it was only a matter of time before they raped and killed.

Is this true? I’m sure I recall reading that this sort of offender, in common with flashers, rarely go on to commit more serious crimes.

“Evidence without substance is ambiguous at best”
Grissom said this.
I don’t have an answer to your question…just wanted to throw a line out there.

I would have to agree that I don’t really believe that is true. “Peeping Toms”, or voyeurs, get their thrills from watching a person without them knowing. If this is what gives them pleasure, why would they go to the extreme of raping and killing? Then they would be making themselves known to the person they are watching, and that isn’t what excites them. So, I think CSI did make a mistake!

George McFly, a potential sexual predator?!

I read a book about sexual addiction recently called Out of the Shadows by Patrick J. Carnes and he discussed three levels of compulsivity. In the first group the behaviour is “victimless” (in a criminal sense.) In the second there is illegal behaviour that falls into the category of “nuisance” crimes such as voyerism and exposure and in the third there is stuff like assult, breaking and entering, rape. He made the point that compuslive sexual behaviour is like any addiction and will get worse until something happens to force the addict to get help. According to Carnes, the element of risk is so important and such a big part of the addictive cycle that just looking won’t satisfy forever and there will be a need for a greater risk. An addict who has crossed the boundary into criminal behaviour is likely to engage in more extreme behaviour til something forces him to stop. I didn’t see the show but I think the opinion would be that if someone has thrown enough of his social boundaries out the window that he’s breaking and entering to spy on people, he’s probably going to slide down a slippery slope if he doesn’t get caught.

According to my Sister, who runs the victims assistance program for a polcie dept around here…People who do such things do indeed go on to do worse. So much so that things they used to just ticket people for, like indecent exposure, are now treated very seriously and usually earn the offender some sex offender classes.

I wonder a bit about the accuracy of this. Seems like her sampling would be a rather biased one – she sees only those who get in trouble with the police. (Rather like the 1960’ psychiatrist who said “all my homosexual patients are crazy.” Well, duh – you’re a psychiatrist, all your patients are crazy!0

It wouldn’t surprise me if there were lots of Peeping Toms who never go on to more serious offenses, and who are never involved with the police at all.

But I’d really like to see some cite here, rather than just people’s stories. Hasn’t anybody done any research on this?

I can’t find any solid research into this, but there’s a few interesting things here:

—"It’s a secretive act,’’ says Richard McAnulty, a clinical psychologist and UNC Charlotte professor who studies sexual deviation. ``Unless someone sees them and calls police and (the police) get there in time, they will not get caught.’’

Voyeurs don’t tend to be violent, McAnulty says. ----

---- McAnulty and Lanning say there is a distinction between people who peep and people who rape. Rapists look into windows, not for thrills, but for their next victim.

For voyeurs, peeping is the thrill. ----

— Some psychologists say Peeping Toms are harmless introverts living out their fantasies at the windows of unsuspecting women. Some detectives say they are sexual deviants who should be feared.

The FBI says they are both. —

There doesn’t appear to be a consensus on this. The argument that many rapists start as peeping toms reminds me of that old canard, Most heroin addicts started by smoking dope, therefore dope leads to heroin.