Background. Predominant explanations of the victim-offender overlap tend to focus on shared causes, such as (low) self-control or risky lifestyles. Such explanations bypass the possibility of a causal link between victimization and offending. We draw on evolutionary developmental psychology and criminological research to propose and test the hypothesis that victimization induces what we refer to as a short-term mindset, i.e., an orientation towards the here-and-now at the expense of considering the future, which in turn increases offending. Methods. We test this mediation hypothesis using structural equation modeling of longitudinal data from a representative sample of urban youth from the city of Zurich, Switzerland (N = 1675). Results. In line with our preregistered predictions, we find that short-term mindsets mediate the effect of victimization on offending, net of prior levels of offending and short-term mindsets, and other controls. Conclusions. We discuss implications for criminological theory and interventions.