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Criminology Fear of Crime and Perceived Risk
by
Lynn A. Addington

Introduction

Fear of crime constitutes a topic of significant interest for criminologists and has generated an extensive body of research. This focus is likely due to the fact that many more people experience fear of crime than experience an actual criminal victimization. Defining “fear of crime” has generated some controversy and no single agreed-upon definition exists. Fear of crime has included “a variety of emotional states, attitudes, or perceptions” (Warr 2000, p. 453, see General Overviews). More contentious is equating fear of crime with perceived risk. The most recent treatment of fear of crime clearly distinguishes these two constructs and views perceived risk as preceding and causing fear. In an attempt to bring greater clarity to this area of study, a few researchers have advocated to use “fear of victimization” as a more precise term rather than “fear of crime” (Warr and Stafford 1983, see Theoretical Explanations and Perceived Risk). Most researchers and studies, however, use these terms interchangeably.

General Overviews

While a great deal has been written on fear of crime, few general texts on the topic are available. Ferraro 1995 provides a thorough review and critique of the fear-of-crime literature. This synthesis is used as a basis for developing and testing a risk interpretation model to explain fear of crime. This source could be used in an advanced undergraduate course on victimology or responses to crime. Vanderveen 2006 provides a comprehensive and thorough coverage of fear of crime, which includes an extensive review and critique of the literature from both U.S. and international sources. This volume is well suited for a graduate course. For advanced undergraduate students, graduate students, and researchers new to the area, Warr 2000 offers a clear overview of the topic and summarizes the current controversies concerning fear of crime. Both Hale 1996 and DuBow, et al. 1979 offer literature reviews that are quite good at synthesizing and critiquing the state of the literature as well as identifying overarching themes. While DuBow, et al. 1979 is over thirty years old, the volume presents a thoughtful and thorough treatment of the issues concerning fear of crime.

  • DuBow, Fred, Edward McCabe, and Gail Kaplan. 1979. Reactions to crime: A critical review of the literature. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice.

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    A thoughtful and thorough, if slightly dated, review and synthesis of the fear-of-crime literature as part of an examination of more general reactions and responses to crime.

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  • Ferraro, Kenneth F. 1995. Fear of crime: Interpreting victimization risk. Albany: State Univ. of New York Press.

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    Thorough discussion of fear of crime. Includes a critique of existing measures and debate over measuring fear of crime. Develops and tests Ferraro’s risk interpretation model, which posits that both ecological and individual factors shape a person’s perceived risk, which in turn causes fear.

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  • Hale, Chris. 1996. Fear of crime: A review of the literature. International Review of Victimology 4:79–150.

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    Comprehensive and extensive review of the literature. Identifies overarching themes in the literature including theoretical explanations, measures of fear, causes of fear, and strategies and programs to reduce fear.

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  • Vanderveen, Gabry. 2006. Interpreting fear, crime, risk, and unsafety. Den Haag, The Netherlands: Boom Juridische Uitgevers.

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    Comprehensive and thorough review of the current state of knowledge about fear of crime. Focuses on the measures of fear. Provides an interdisciplinary approach and proposes new strategies for researchers to gain improvements for a better understanding of crime.

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  • Warr, Mark. 2000. Fear of crime in the United States: Avenues for research and policy. In Criminal justice 2000: Measurement and analysis of crime and justice. Vol. 4. Edited by David Duffee, 451–489. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice.

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    An accessible overview of the fear-of-crime literature, including controversies over definition and measurement. Identifies questions about fear of crime that are currently unanswered by the literature.

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Data Sources

Data sources on fear of crime focus on survey data. Fear-of-crime questions are included in several major victimization surveys such as the British Crime Survey, the International Crime Victimization Survey, the National Crime Survey’s Victim Risk Supplement, and the National Crime Victimization Survey: School Crime Supplement. Fear of crime also has been asked on the U.S. General Social Survey (GSS), the website which allows users to do some interactive analyses on fear of crime. The data collected by these surveys are somewhat limited as they typically ask one or two questions designed to measure fear of crime. Researchers should exercise some caution in comparing data across these surveys since no single measure of fear is used and some measures have been the subject of critiques. Other surveys examining fear of crime have been developed and used by independent researchers. Many of these studies were federally funded in the United States and these data are available through the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data.

  • British Crime Survey.

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    Respondents are asked questions about their experiences with victimization including fear of crime, which is addressed in questions about worry. More recent questions ask about perceived risk of particular crimes and how their worry of crime relates to worries about other events such as a serious illness.

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    • General Social Survey (GSS).

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      Gathers demographic and attitudinal data to measure societal trends in the United States. Since 1972, one consistent topic concerns fear of crime, which is measured by asking respondents: “Is there any area around here—that is, within a mile—where you would be afraid to walk alone at night?”

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      • International Crime Victimization Survey.

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        Victimization surveys based on representative samples of the populations of over forty nations. Surveys have been conducted in 1989, 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004–2005. Surveys in 1996 and 2000 include items on feelings of safety and perception of risk.

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        • National Archive of Criminal Justice Data.

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          Repository for datasets from crime and justice studies. Includes data from the National Crime Victimization Survey, British Crime Survey, International Crime Victims Survey, and other sources. Datasets and codebooks can be downloaded by researchers at member universities and other organizations.

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          • National Crime Survey (NCS).

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            Precursor to National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). Included a twenty-six-city study in 1974–1975 that asked two fear questions: “How safe do you feel or would you feel being out alone in your neighborhood during the night?” and “How safe do you feel or would you feel being out alone in your neighborhood during the day?”

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          • National Crime Survey: Victim Risk Supplement, 1983.

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            In 1983, respondents to the NCS were asked an additional set of questions to examine the relationship between certain lifestyles and crime victimization. Included in the supplement were questions on the respondent’s perception of safety in locations such as home and work.

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            • National Crime Victimization Survey: School Crime Supplement.

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              The School Crime Supplement asks additional questions of the twelve- to eighteen-year-old students who reside in NCVS households. These questions gather information about their fear of being attacked or harmed at school, traveling to school, and away from school.

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            Theoretical Explanations and Perceived Risk

            Various explanations have been posited to explain the causes of fear of crime. For many of these theories, perceived risk constitutes an important construct. Perceived risk lacks a clear definition, but generally refers to an individual’s assessment of his or her own likelihood of being criminally victimized. The primary assumption is that perceived risk causes fear of crime (Ferraro 1995, Warr and Stafford 1983). Some researchers have focused on explaining the causes of perceived risk and, in turn, fear (Ferraro 1995). Others have examined more precisely how perceived risk operates to cause fear (Warr 1987, Warr and Stafford 1983).

            • Ferraro, Kenneth F. 1995. Fear of crime: Interpreting victimization risk. Albany: State Univ. of New York Press.

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              Develops a risk interpretation model, which posits that both ecological and individual factors shape a person’s perceived risk. Perceived risk is hypothesized to cause fear. Finds support for this theoretical model as community traits and individual factors cause perceived risk, which in turn causes fear of crime.

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            • Warr, Mark. 1987. Fear of victimization and sensitivity to risk. Journal of Quantitative Criminology 3:29–46.

              DOI: 10.1007/BF01065199Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              Incorporates the concept of sensitivity to risk into the relationship between perceived risk and fear. Sensitivity to risk is posited to explain why the same crime or level of perceived risk may result in different levels of fear across particular population groups.

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            • Warr, Mark, and Mark C. Stafford. 1983. Fear of victimization: A look at the proximate causes. Social Forces 61:1033–1043.

              DOI: 10.2307/2578277Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              Examines the hypothesis that fear of victimization is a multiplicative function of the perceived risk and perceived seriousness associated with a particular offense. Support is found for this multiplicative relationship and it is used to explain differences in levels of fear across different types of crime.

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            Measures of Fear

            Given the theoretical distinction between “fear of crime” and “perceived risk,” researchers have given a significant amount of attention to measuring fear (Warr 2000). A wide variety of measures have been utilized, and researchers have suggested that contrary findings may be partly due to mismeasures of fear. How best to measure fear of crime has generated some debate as to whether measures are tapping into “fear” or “perceived risk” (Ferraro 1995, Ferraro and LaGrange 1987, Rountree and Land 1996). While no single agreed-upon measure has emerged, many measures have come under fire for being too vague and not asking about fear directly. Researchers have advocated asking survey respondents directly about fear and preferably about fear of specific crimes (Warr 1987, Warr and Stafford 1983).

            • Ferraro, Kenneth F. 1995. Fear of crime: Interpreting victimization risk. Albany: State Univ. of New York Press.

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              Examines and critiques previous measures of fear of crime and problems with comingling fear and perception of risk measures.

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            • Ferraro, Kenneth F., and Randy L. LaGrange. 1987. The measurement of fear of crime. Sociological Inquiry 57:70–101.

              DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-682X.1987.tb01181.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              Provides a critical review of the literature and previous measures of crime. After identifying existing weaknesses and problems, provides suggestions for more accurate measures.

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            • Rountree, Pamela Wilcox, and Kenneth C. Land. 1996. Perceived risk versus fear of crime: Empirical evidence of conceptually distinct reactions in survey data. Social Forces 74:1353–1376.

              DOI: 10.2307/2580354Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              Evidence for the distinction between constructs of “fear of crime” and “perceived risk” in the context of burglary. Reviews previous measures of fear of crime.

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            • Warr, Mark. 1987. Fear of victimization and sensitivity to risk. Journal of Quantitative Criminology 3:29–46.

              DOI: 10.1007/BF01065199Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              Sensitivity to risk is hypothesized to moderate the relationship between perceived risk and fear by interacting with perceived risk. Respondents are asked questions about fear of victimization, perceived risk, and perceived seriousness of the offense with regard to specific crimes.

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            • Warr, Mark. 2000. Fear of crime in the United States: Avenues for research and policy. In Criminal justice 2000: Measurement and analysis of crime and justice, vol. 4. Edited by David Duffee, 451–489. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice.

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              An accessible overview of the fear-of-crime literature, including controversies over definition and measurement.

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            • Warr, Mark, and Mark C. Stafford. 1983. Fear of victimization: A look at the proximate causes. Social Forces 61:1033–1043.

              DOI: 10.2307/2578277Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              Examines the hypothesis that fear of victimization is a multiplicative function of the perceived risk and perceived seriousness associated with a particular offense. Support is found for this multiplicative relationship and this finding supports the need to ask about fear across specific types of crime.

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            Victimization and Fear

            Researchers have examined the relationship between personal experiences of victimization and fear. Victimization has been divided into two areas. One is direct experiences with crime victimization and the relationship this has with subsequent reports of fear of crime. The second area is indirect victimization. Here the individual is not the direct victim of a crime, but experiences it vicariously through reports by others, such as the news media. Both areas have been the focus of significant research attention.

            Direct Experiences of Victimization

            Researchers have been interested in what causes fear of crime. One area that has received a great deal of attention is the hypothesis that those who have been victimized are more fearful. This hypothesis has consistently received mixed support. Early fear of crime research tended to find no relationship between previous victimization and reports of fear (Dubow, et al.1979). Within the context of perceived risk, the hypothesis is that those who have been victimized before are likely to perceive their risk of victimization as greater than those who have not been directly victimized. Researchers have obtained mixed support for this premise. Box, et al. 1988 found previous victims had lower levels of fear than those who had not been victimized. Skogan and Maxfield 1981 found previous victims to be more fearful, but the levels of fear varied by crime as well as age and sex. Liska, et al. 1988 found previous victims more fearful than those who had not been victimized. Rountree 1998 parses out the type of previous victimization and finds that violent victimization increases fear of both property and violent crime while property victimization only increases fear of property crime.

            Indirect Experiences of Victimization

            News media coverage is a powerful means by which individuals learn about victims of crime and experience indirect victimization. Warr 1994 noted the ability of the media to transmit an event known to only a few people (the offender, victim, and any witnesses) to audiences of millions of people. Much of the previous research concerning the media has studied the effect of newspaper coverage on fear of crime. Researchers have found sensational crimes that occur to seemingly random victims affect fear of crime among readers and these effects are strongest if the crimes occurred locally (Heath 1984, Liska and Baccaglini 1990). Few studies have examined the relationship between fear of crime and either television news overall or particular formats of television news coverage, such as twenty-four-hour cable news channels (Doob and Macdonald 1979, Chiricos, et al. 2000). In summary, these studies suggest a negative relationship between fear and distance from a criminal incident reported by the media. Greater distance is associated with less fear. Distance includes both spatial distance and commonality of individual characteristics with the victim.

            • Chiricos, Ted, Kathy Padgett, and Marc Gertz. 2000. Fear, TV news, and the reality of crime. Criminology 38:755–785.

              DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.2000.tb00905.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              Examines the frequency of watching national as well as local news coverage. Finds only local news coverage is significantly related to fear of crime. This finding is explained by the resonance hypothesis, which suggests that news accounts have the greatest effect when the stories resonate with the actual experiences of viewers.

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            • Doob, Anthony N., and Glenn E. Macdonald. 1979. Television viewing and fear of victimization: Is the relationship causal? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 37:170–179.

              DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.37.2.170Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              First study of television news coverage on fear of crime. Finds no relationship between watching television news and level of fear.

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            • Heath, Linda. 1984. Impact of newspaper crime reports on fear of crime: Multimethodological investigation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 47:263–276.

              DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.47.2.263Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              Found sensational crimes that occur to seemingly random victims affect fear of crime among readers and these effects are strongest if the crimes occurred locally.

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            • Liska, Allen E., and William Baccaglini. 1990. Feeling safe by comparison: Crime in the newspapers. Social Problems 37:360–374.

              DOI: 10.1525/sp.1990.37.3.03a00060Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              For newspaper readers, homicide stories have the strongest relationship to fear. Stories about local homicides increased fear of victimization, while stories about homicides that occurred elsewhere decreased fear of victimization.

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            • Warr, Mark. 1994. “Public perceptions and reactions to violent offending and victimization.” In Understanding and preventing violence, vol. 4. Edited by Albert J. Reiss, Jr., and Jeffrey A. Roth, 1–66. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

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              Examines news media as a source of indirect victimization. Summarizes research examining the relationship between media coverage and fear.

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            Women and Fear

            A consistent, and paradoxical, finding in fear-of-crime research is that women are more fearful than men (DuBow, et al. 1979, Warr 2000). A considerable amount of attention has been devoted to understanding this finding since women typically experience much less direct criminal victimization than men. One common explanation is that women have an overarching fear of rape and sexual assault and this fear pervades all aspects of their lives and views of crime. In other words, women are concerned that being criminally victimized in any way opens up the possibility of being raped (Warr 1984, Ferraro 1996). More recent research has focused on refining this “shadow of sexual assault” hypothesis (Fisher and Sloan 2003, Wilcox, et al. 2006). Madriz 1997 examines the effects of this heightened fear on women’s opportunities.

            • DuBow, Fred, Edward McCabe, and Gail Kaplan. 1979. Reactions to crime: A critical review of the literature. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice.

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              Summarizes early literature finding women to be more fearful than men.

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            • Ferraro, Kenneth F. 1996. Women’s fear of victimization: Shadow of sexual assault? Social Forces 75:667–690.

              DOI: 10.2307/2580418Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              Finds that fear of sexual assault eliminated or reversed sex differences. Finds support for the hypothesis that women’s increased fear as compared to that of men is due to their perceived risk of crime as well as their fear of rape in everyday life.

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            • Fisher, Bonnie S., and John J. Sloan III. 2003. Unraveling the fear of victimization among college women: Is the “shadow of sexual assault” hypothesis supported? Justice Quarterly 20:633–659.

              DOI: 10.1080/07418820300095641Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              Uses a college sample and finds support for the hypothesis that fear of rape affects women’s fear of other crimes.

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            • Madriz, Esther. 1997. Nothing bad happens to good girls: Fear of crime in women’s lives. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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              Examines the conditions that underlie women’s fear of crime and discusses the repercussions of this fear, especially with regard to avoidance behaviors.

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            • Warr, Mark. 1984. Fear of victimization: Why are women and the elderly more afraid? Social Science Quarterly 65:681–702.

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              Explores differences in fear among women and men. Attributes differences to variations in sensitivity to risk, which is a function of perceived seriousness of the offense and the perceived potential for contemporaneous offenses such as rape.

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            • Warr, Mark. 2000. Fear of crime in the United States: Avenues for research and policy. In Criminal justice 2000: Measurement and analysis of crime and justice. Vol. 4. Edited by David Duffee, 451–489. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice.

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              An accessible overview of the fear-of-crime literature for a general audience. Includes summaries of literature examining women’s reports of fear.

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            • Wilcox, Pamela, Carol E. Jordan, and Adam J. Pritchard. 2006. Fear of acquaintance versus stranger rape as a “master status”: Towards refinement of the “shadow of sexual assault.” Violence and Victims 21:355–370.

              DOI: 10.1891/vivi.21.3.355Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              Examines distinctions between stranger and acquaintance sexual assaults and fear of crime. Strongest connections are found between fear of sexual assault by a stranger and fear of other stranger-instigated crimes.

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            Elderly and Fear

            Most studies find that the age has a significant relationship with fear; however, the nature of this relationship is a bit unclear (Hale 1996). Studies have found both that the elderly are more fearful than younger individuals (Box, et al. 1988) and less fearful (Warr 1984, LaGrange and Ferraro 1989). More recently studies have questioned the perception that the elderly are more fearful as being inconsistent with current findings (Sacco and Nakhaie 2001, McCoy, et al. 1996).

            • Box, Steven, Chris Hale, and Glen Andrews. 1988. Explaining fear of crime. British Journal of Criminology 28:340–356.

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              Uses British Crime Survey data and finds elderly respondents are more fearful than younger respondents.

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            • Hale, Chris. 1996. Fear of crime: A review of the literature. International Review of Victimology 4:79–150.

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              Comprehensive and extensive review of the literature. Identifies overarching themes in the literature including elderly reports of fear.

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            • LaGrange, Randy L., and Kenneth F. Ferraro. 1989. Assessing age and gender differences in perceived risk and fear of crime. Criminology 27:697–719.

              DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.1989.tb01051.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              Finds younger adults more fearful of crime than older adults in general. When asked about fear of specific crimes, younger adults are consistently more fearful than older adults.

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            • McCoy, H. Virginia, John D. Wooldredge, Francis T. Cullen, Paula J. Dubeck, and Sandra L. Browning. 1996. Lifestyles of the old and not so fearful: Life situations and older persons’ fear of crime. Journal of Criminal Justice 24:191–205.

              DOI: 10.1016/0047-2352(96)00005-0Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              Finds elderly respondents do not report higher levels of fear. Finds neighborhood satisfaction to be a stronger predictor of fear of crime among the elderly.

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            • Sacco, Vincent F., and M. Reza Nakhaie. 2001. Coping with crime: An examination of elderly and nonelderly adaptations. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry 24:305–323.

              DOI: 10.1016/S0160-2527(00)00074-1Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              Finds the elderly are not more fearful than younger adults, with the exception of avoiding public places at night.

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            • Warr, Mark. 1984. Fear of victimization: Why are women and the elderly more afraid? Social Science Quarterly 65:681–702.

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              Explores differences in fear among young and old. Attributes differences to variations in sensitivity to risk, which is a function of the perceived seriousness of the offense and the perceived potential for contemporaneous offenses.

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            Neighborhoods, Incivility, and Fear

            A substantial amount of attention has been devoted to examining characteristics of neighborhoods, especially with regard to “signs of crime” or “clues” to underlying disorder, which are generally referred to as “incivilities” (Hale 1996, Skogan and Maxfield 1981). These incivilities suggest possible dangers in the individual’s immediate environment and increase perceived risk of victimization, which in turn increases fear. The effect of incivilities on fear can be direct (Covington and Taylor 1991, Taylor and Covington 1993, Robinson, et al. 2003) or indirect (Ferraro 1995, LaGrange, et al. 1992, Rountree and Land 1996), so if neighborhood incivilities are present, this raises a person’s perceived risk of victimization and increases fear of crime.

            • Covington, Jeanette, and Ralph B. Taylor. 1991. Fear of crime in urban residential neighborhoods: Implications of between- and within-neighborhood sources for current models. Sociological Quarterly 32:231–249.

              DOI: 10.1111/j.1533-8525.1991.tb00355.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              Examines data from sixty-six Baltimore neighborhoods and finds perceived incivilities of the neighborhood to be a strong predictor of individual-level fear.

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            • Ferraro, Kenneth F. 1995. Fear of crime: Interpreting victimization risk. Albany: State Univ. of New York Press.

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              Thorough discussion of fear of crime. Develops and tests Ferraro’s risk interpretation model, which posits that ecological factors such as neighborhood and incivility shape a person’s perceived risk, which in turn causes fear.

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            • Hale, Chris. 1996. Fear of crime: A review of the literature. International Review of Victimology 4:79–150.

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              Comprehensive and extensive review of the literature. Identifies overarching themes in the literature including incivilities and fear.

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            • LaGrange, Randy L., Kenneth F. Ferraro, and Michael Supancic. 1992. Perceived risk and fear of crime: Role of social and physical incivilities. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 29:311–334.

              DOI: 10.1177/0022427892029003004Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              Examines several social and physical incivilities such as noise, litter, and abandoned cars. Finds significant relationships between these incivilities and perceptions of risk, and these perceptions of risk mediate the relationship between incivilities and fear of crime.

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            • Robinson, Jennifer B., Brian A. Lawton, Ralph B. Taylor, and Douglas D. Perkins. 2003. Multilevel longitudinal impacts of incivilities: Fear of crime, expected safety, and block satisfaction. Journal of Quantitative Criminology 19:237–274.

              DOI: 10.1023/A:1024956925170Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              Uses data from fifty Baltimore neighborhoods. Finds changes in perceived neighborhood incivilities changed respondents’ reports of fear and perceived risk.

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            • Rountree, Pamela Wilcox, and Kenneth C. Land. 1996. Burglary victimization, perceptions of crime risk, and routine activities: A multilevel analysis across Seattle neighborhoods and census tracts. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 33:147–180.

              DOI: 10.1177/0022427896033002001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              Finds increased levels of crime and disorganization increase perceived risk of crime while neighborhood social integration diminishes perceived risk.

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            • Skogan, Wesley G., and Michael G. Maxfield. 1981. Coping with crime: Individual and neighborhood reactions. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.

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              Studies how urban residents respond to crime and fear of crime. Based on original data collection in three large U.S. cities.

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            • Taylor, Ralph B., and Jeanette Covington. 1993. Community structural change and fear of crime. Social Problems 40:374–397.

              DOI: 10.1525/sp.1993.40.3.03x0084fSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              Examines the effects of neighborhood changes on fear of crime. Finds fear was highest in neighborhoods experiencing unexpected increases in minority, elderly, and youth populations.

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            Students, Schools, and Fear

            Acts of extreme school violence in the late 1990s generated interest in examining the level of fear among students and the repercussions of this fear. Despite media reports of targeted school violence like the shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999, little support has been found for these reports (Addington 2003). In general, students overall are not very fearful at school. Aspects of the school environment, such as the presence of gangs or weapons, and previous direct victimization experiences, tend to increase reports of fear by students (Alvarez and Bachman 1997, May and Dunaway 2000). Those students who are fearful may be of concern as researchers have found these students more likely to suffer negative educational consequences (Wayne and Rubel 1982). While May 1999 found fearful students more likely to bring weapons to school, Wilcox, et al. 2006 did not find strong support for this hypothesis.

            • Addington, Lynn A. 2003. Students’ fear after Columbine: Findings from a randomized experiment. Journal of Quantitative Criminology 19:367–387.

              DOI: 10.1023/B:JOQC.0000005440.11892.27Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              Uses a quasi-experimental design to compare levels of student fear before and after Columbine. Finds only slightly higher levels of fear both in terms of percentages of students reporting fear and intensity of fear reported.

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            • Alvarez, Alex, and Ronet Bachman. 1997. Predicting the fear of assault at school and while going to and from school in an adolescent population. Violence and Victims 12:69–86.

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              Examines predictors of reporting fear at school and while traveling to and from school. Finds recent victimization experiences, the presence of a violent subculture at the school, and availability of drugs and alcohol to be related to fear in both contexts.

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            • May, David C. 1999. Scared kids, unattached kids, or peer pressure: Why do students carry firearms to school? Youth and Society 31:100–127.

              DOI: 10.1177/0044118X99031001005Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              Finds students who report being fearful of criminal victimization to be more likely to carry firearms to school.

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            • May, David C., and R. Gregory Dunaway. 2000. Predictors of fear of criminal victimization at school among adolescents. Sociological Spectrum 20:149–168.

              DOI: 10.1080/027321700279938Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              Examines predictors of fear of crime at school using a sample of public high school students in Mississippi. Higher levels of fear are found in students with lower levels of perceived safety at school and those reporting high levels of incivilities in their neighborhoods.

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            • Wayne, Ivor, and Robert J. Rubel. 1982. Student fear in secondary schools. Urban Review 14:197–237.

              DOI: 10.1007/BF02171930Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              Finds repercussions of fear of crime at school include student dislike of their school overall, their teachers, and their fellow students.

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            • Wilcox, Pamela, David C. May, and Staci D. Roberts. 2006. Student weapon possession and the “fear and victimization hypothesis”: Unraveling the temporal order. Justice Quarterly 23:502–529.

              DOI: 10.1080/07418820600985362Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              Finds little support for the hypothesis that fear and previous victimizations increase gun and weapon carrying. Finds greater support for weapon carrying increasing subsequent fear and victimization.

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            Consequences of Fear

            A significant area of interest in the fear-of-crime literature concerns the repercussions of this fear. Researchers have modeled the consequences of fear in two ways. One is a unidirectional or recursive relationship between fear and behavior. Studies have viewed direction of causality both as fear causing behavior (Rountree and Land 1996) and behavior causing fear (Ferraro 1995, Rountree 1998). The second model is via a reciprocal relationship between fear and behavior (Liska, et al. 1988). The actual consequences of fear fall into two general categories: avoidance behaviors and defensive behaviors (Dubow, et al.1979). Avoidance, or constrained, behaviors involve limitations people put on their activity as a result of their fear (Liska, et al. 1988, Ferraro 1995, Madriz 1997). Skogan and Maxfield 1981 notes that certain population groups such as women and the elderly were more likely to report engaging in avoidance behaviors. These behaviors include avoiding unsafe areas and limiting other daily activities. Defensive behaviors involve proactively engaging in actions to relieve feelings of fear. These behaviors can include a variety of options including carrying a weapon for protection (Ferraro 1995, Wilcox, et al. 2006).

            • DuBow, Fred, Edward McCabe, and Gail Kaplan. 1979. Reactions to crime: A critical review of the literature. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice.

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              Includes examination of the consequences of fear of crime, including protective and defensive behaviors.

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            • Ferraro, Kenneth F. 1995. Fear of crime: Interpreting victimization risk. Albany: State Univ. of New York Press.

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              Thorough discussion of fear of crime. Examines consequences of fear, which includes defensive behaviors.

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            • Liska, Allen E., Andrew Sanchirico, and Mark D. Reed. 1988. Fear of crime and constrained behavior specifying and estimating a reciprocal effects model. Social Forces 66:827–837.

              DOI: 10.2307/2579577Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              Predicts a reciprocal relationship between fear and protective behaviors with a positive relationship between fear and protective measures and a negative relationship between protective measures and subsequent fear. Finds support for the initial positive relationship (between fear and protective measures) but also finds a positive relationship between protective measures and subsequent fear.

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            • Madriz, Esther. 1997. Nothing bad happens to good girls: Fear of crime in women’s lives. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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              Examines the conditions that underlie women’s fear of crime and discusses the repercussions of this fear, especially with regard to avoidance behaviors.

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            • Rountree, Pamela Wilcox. 1998. A reexamination of the crime-fear linkage. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 35:341–372.

              DOI: 10.1177/0022427898035003005Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              Uses multilevel models of fear to examine previous victimization experiences and their effect on fear. Finds violent victimization increases fear of both property and violent crime while property victimization only increases fear of property crime.

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            • Rountree, Pamela Wilcox, and Kenneth C. Land. 1996. Burglary victimization, perceptions of crime risk, and routine activities: A multilevel analysis across Seattle neighborhoods and census tracts. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 33:147–180.

              DOI: 10.1177/0022427896033002001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              Finds increased levels of crime and disorganization increase perceived risk of crime while neighborhood social integration diminishes perceived risk.

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            • Skogan, Wesley G., and Michael G. Maxfield. 1981. Coping with crime: Individual and neighborhood reactions. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.

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              Studies how urban residents respond to crime and fear of crime. Based on original data collection in three large U.S. cities.

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            • Wilcox, Pamela, David C. May, and Staci D. Roberts. 2006. Student weapon possession and the “fear and victimization hypothesis”: Unraveling the temporal order. Justice Quarterly 23:502–529.

              DOI: 10.1080/07418820600985362Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              Finds little support for the hypothesis that fear and previous victimizations increase gun and weapon carrying. Finds greater support for weapon carrying increasing subsequent fear and victimization.

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            LAST MODIFIED: 12/14/2009

            DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780195396607-0051

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