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Do Neighborhoods Generate Fear Of Crime? An Empirical Test Using The British Crime Survey

Brunton-Smith, Ian and Sturgis, Patrick ORCID: 0000-0003-1180-3493 (2011) Do Neighborhoods Generate Fear Of Crime? An Empirical Test Using The British Crime Survey. Critical Criminology: The Official Journal of the ASC Division on Critical Criminology and the ACJS Section on Critical Criminology, 49 (2). pp. 331-369. ISSN 1572-9877

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Identification Number: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.2011.00228.x


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
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2011 American Society of Criminology
Divisions: Methodology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
K Law
Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2019 11:03
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 02:52

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