Do neighbourhoods generate fear of crime? An empirical test using the British Crime Survey


Brunton-Smith, Ian and Sturgis, Patrick (2011) Do neighbourhoods generate fear of crime? An empirical test using the British Crime Survey. Criminology, 49, (2), 331-369. (doi:10.1111/j.1745-9125.2011.00228.x).

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Description/Abstract

For a long time, criminologists have contended that neighborhoods are important determinants of how individuals perceive their risk of criminal victimization. Yet, despite the theoretical importance and policy relevance of these claims, the empirical evidence base is surprisingly thin and inconsistent. Drawing on data from a national probability sample of individuals, linked to independent measures of neighborhood demographic characteristics, visual signs of physical disorder, and reported crime, we test four hypotheses about the mechanisms through which neighborhoods influence fear of crime. Our large sample size, analytical approach, and the independence of our empirical measures enable us to overcome some of the limitations that have hampered much previous research into this question. We find that neighborhood structural characteristics, visual signs of disorder, and recorded crime all have direct and independent effects on individual-level fear of crime. Additionally, we demonstrate that individual differences in fear of crime are strongly moderated by neighborhood socioeconomic characteristics; between-group differences in expressed fear of crime are both exacerbated and ameliorated by the characteristics of the areas in which people live.

Item Type: Article
ISSNs: 0011-1384 (print)
1745-9125 (electronic)
Keywords: fear criminal victimization multilevel neighborhood effects
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Divisions: University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Social Sciences > Social Statistics
ePrint ID: 182577
Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2011 09:07
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 19:38
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/182577

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