The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

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), pp. 331-369. (doi:10.1111/j.1745-9125.2011.00228.x).

Record type: Article


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.

PDF 2011_Do_neighbourhoods_generate_fear_of_crime.pdf - Version of Record
Restricted to Repository staff only
Download (227kB)

More information

Published date: 2011
Keywords: fear criminal victimization multilevel neighborhood effects
Organisations: Social Statistics


Local EPrints ID: 182577
ISSN: 0011-1384
PURE UUID: 022ad4c3-2841-473c-8be8-984817da51fe

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 28 Apr 2011 09:07
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 11:57

Export record



Author: Ian Brunton-Smith
Author: Patrick Sturgis

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton:

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.