Less expected, for example, is the extent to which living quarters, either those of the offender or of his partner, or a joint residence, are a prime location for sex offenses other than incest. To these six should be added a single group from the force offenses-aggressions against children. It is only in the peeping, exhibition, and the two other force categories that a dwelling does not appear to be the most usual spot. Considering that human sex behavior is a fairly clandestine matter, perhaps the fact that in the majority of these; cases the inside of the four walls of a home was chosen as constituting the best privacy should not be too surprising. While homes predominate as offense locations in the majority of offense types, it should be pointed out that the range of the proportions of offenses taking place in homes is a very wide one, from 5 to 96 per cent. Peeping and exhibition offenses are the lower end of the range, and incest offenses are at the top of the list.
We made a further tabulation to discover whether the residence was the home of the offender, of his partner, or joint living quarters for both. In the incest cases it was in almost all instances, as one might expect, a joint residence of the male parent and daughter (93 per cent, 88 per cent, 92 per cent). A common residence also showed up in 40 per cent of the offenses vs. females over sixteen years of age. These are the only four categories in which the joint dwelling place predominates, and the large incidence for offenses vs. adults is explained by the fact that often the couple had moved in together to a hotel, motel, or rooming house just prior to the complaint from parents, neighbors, or authorities which led to charges being filed. Sometimes the relationship was of longer standing, and actually constituted a common-law marriage by the present definition. In not a few instances the sex offender was a roomer or an overnight visitor in the home, or shared an apartment with the family of the female partner.
The offender’s own living quarters comprised the major type of “home” which served as place of the offense in all three age-of-object categories of homosexual offenses as well as in two classes of nonforce offenses against females, those involving children and minors. Specifically, in about a fourth to a third of the cases in all five of these categories. The range is from 23 to 32 per cent. Finally, the residence of the object or victim of the offense was apparently a much less likely location for the sex offense, which occurred there most often in the cases involving force with females over sixteen years of age (24 per cent). The force offenses against females aged twelve to fifteen rank next, with 18 per cent of them taking place in the victim’s home. In comparing these percentages with those in the force offenses against children and minors that occurred in the offender’s own living quarters, one gets a very neat picture. It might be said that while it was possible for the offender to “lure” the younger girls into his own rooms, as they grew older (and more wary), this became increasingly difficult to do. (Among the oldest group of victims only a single case of the force offenses took place under these circumstances.) Consequently the offender found it more and more necessary to seek out his victim in her home, which accounts for the high percentage of cases occurring there. There is another factor, however, that cannot be overlooked in judging the differences here. When one considers that the median age of the adult females who were the victims of sexual offenses involving force is twenty-four, as against only eighteen in the nonforce cases, it seems probable that the older women would be more likely to have an apartment or room of their own and not to be living in the more protected atmosphere of their family’s home.
In summary, the present data suggest that sex offenses occur most typically in a residence or “home,” and that, furthermore, this trend is seen most clearly in the incest and nonforce offenses with females over the age of sixteen. In this latter group, out of the 169 offenses on which we have full data, almost three quarters of them took place in the home of either the offender or of his female companion, or under a roof which was shared as a living accommodation.
One other interesting sidelight is revealed here when one compares the percentages in the heterosexual and homosexual offenses that took place in a residence. The two types of offenses start out at about the same point with 46 and 50 per cent of the cases involving children occurring in a home. But from this common ground they diverge in opposite directions through the next two groups, the heterosexual offenses vs. minors and adults taking place increasingly in the framework of a home, and the corresponding homosexual offenses less often. This opposite trend doubtless reflects the contrasting social patterns associated with the two kinds of sexual behavior. Heterosexual activity such as courting and dating is socially acceptable and as such takes place naturally within the setting of the home. In contrast, the homosexual wishing an adult partner usually must go out and seek him in a public place. Once having made such a contact the homosexual male is often afraid to take the pickup back to his room or apartment, or may indeed get arrested before he has had a chance to do so, especially if it is a case of entrapment by the police.