Video voyeurism is a relatively new crime that involves the use of video cameras in public areas to record underneath women’s clothing. Recently, several courts have determined that this form of voyeurism is not covered under existing criminal statutes dealing with voyeurism. This paper examines current statutes relating to voyeurism to determine if these laws are adequate or if new legislation is required to combat video voyeurism. Some of the areas covered include: the nature of video voyeurism, challenges faced by law enforcement, and the challenges faced by lawmakers attempting to write legislation which will clearly criminalize the behavior.
The old crime of the ‘Peeping Tom’ has advanced, through the use of technology, to become a crime that is so ‘state of the art’ that police, prosecutors, and legislators are having a hard time keeping pace (Pope, 1999). Recently, criminal voyeurs have taken advantage of the ever decreasing size of video and photographic equipment to facilitate and expand the scope of their criminal activities. Today, two forms of video voyeurism have become so commonplace that they have received nicknames in the law enforcement community: ‘upskirting’ and ‘downblousing.’ These forms of voyeurism involve using a video camera in order to photograph underneath the clothing of women in public places.
a voyeur takes a shopping bag and places a small video recording device inside the bag pointing upward. He then goes to a shopping mall and waits near the bottom of an escalator. When a woman wearing a skirt gets on the escalator he steps on behind her. He sets the shopping bag down on the step underneath her skirt so the video recording device is pointed up her skirt and turns it on. A voyeur who wants to participate in ‘downblousing’ heads to the same mall and stands on the top floor looking down. When a woman wearing a revealing blouse walks by on a lower floor the perpetrator simply zooms in on the woman’s cleavage. The vantage point...
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