18 N. Y. L. F. 77 (1972-1973)
Report on Victimless Crime in New York State

handle is hein.journals/nyls18 and id is 97 raw text is: REPORT ON VICTIMLESS CRIME'
The increasing rate of crime in New York State has placed a
severe strain on the criminal justice system-a system so outdated and
overextended that it is near total collapse.
In an attempt to meet the crisis, an increasing number of people
have begun to ask whether a change in our society's approach to the
so-called victimless crimes '-public drunkenness, prostitution,
gambling, homosexuality, marijuana offenses and pornography-can
at least contribute to a solution. These people contend that there are
many acts now considered criminal which, in the light of today's
attitudes and practices, should no longer be treated as crimes. Remov-
ing them from the criminal system would conserve law enforcement
resources which could then be channelled into the fight against violent
crimes, and would at the same time lessen the strain of administering
the criminal justice system.
The purpose of the New York State Legislative Hearings on
victimless crimes, which were held in New York City in September
and October, 1971, was to undertake an exhaustive re-evaluation of
our attitudes and the laws dealing with victimless crime. Based both
upon the testimony at these hearings and upon additional research,
the inescapable conclusion was reached that society's present ap-
proach to the victimless crimes is almost totally without merit and
should be changed radically.
Enforcing the laws against these crimes requires an enormous
investment of law enforcement resources. An inordinate amount of
police time is expended in planning raids, making arrests, and pro-
* Member of the Assembly, State of New York.
** Member of the New York Bar.
The term victimless crimes is a misnomer, insofar as it implies that these crimes have
no victims. The prostitute is herself the biggest victim of prostitution-constantly in and out of
jail, almost always controlled by a pimp (ninety per cent of all prostitutes have pimps), and
often driven by the needs of drug addiction to commit violent crimes. The prostitute's patrons
may be mugged or contract venereal disease. The slum dweller who plays the numbers game,
and can ill afford to do so, is a victim. So is the public drunk, whose drinking not only assures
him of a life in and out ofjail, but also of an early death.

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