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Factors that Influence Fear of Crime

Keywords: concern with crime gender, concern with crime theory


Today, fear of crime has turned into a very widespread and burning concern in the culture. There are numerous people today who share their anxiety and stress over crime and, their matter to be victimized. There are certain factors that condition the level of fear of criminal offense and being victimized of the folks. It includes gender; years; any past experience related to criminal offenses that an specific can have that could have happened where one lives; ethnicity, etc. There will vary ways in which people respond to crime. These ways include protecting themselves, avoiding offense, and trying to avoid victimization by not positioning anything for which they may be victimized (Will and McGrath 1995).

The marketing also takes on a vital and critical role in shaping the total amount that people your hands on fear of criminal offense. This is due to the reason that media cover crime experiences in an exceedingly considerable as well as disproportionate way. While not many people are a sufferer of criminal offenses but criminal acts touch everyone's life (Gray et al 2008).

Gender is a significant factor in shaping the level of fear of criminal offenses among individuals. It is a known fact that women dread crime more than men. The amount of fear also can vary with age the individuals, location, interpersonal context, TV viewing habits, neighbourhood composition of the individual, and ethnicity.

The research problem for the analysis is to understand the influential factors that condition the view that folks hold of concern with crime including security and precaution methods. The research also sheds light on the difference in belief of women and men regarding the concern with offense and what affects that difference.

Significance of the research

Fear of criminal offenses has an enormous and profound impact on any society. The decision of folks regarding where to live, socialize and shop is determined by their relative perceptions of the safeness with their neighbourhood, towns and places. There will vary situations related to criminal offenses against the individual which people are fearful of. Probably the most fearful scenarios fluctuate for women and men. Women will be more fearful of criminal offenses and being victimized alternatively than man (Jackson 2006). The study identifies the role of communal construction that influences the notion of men and women regarding the fear of crime. Concern with crime can be a consequence of the latent influences and belief of the average person that he varieties of the encompassing environment. The research is significant in conditions of the perceptions and factors that impact people, both male and female regarding their personal security and concern with being a sufferer of the crime. The research can help in attaining a deep knowledge and understanding of these influential factors for concern with crime, and variations in fearing criminal offense by women and men.

Research Questions

The research questions for the study study are the following:

  • What different influential factors condition the notion of fear of criminal offense and being victimized of both male and female?
  • Do the interpersonal construction surrounding women and men impact their understanding and degree of fear of criminal offenses?
  • What are the procedures used for steering clear of or protecting against of offense and being a victim and difference in these options for men and women?
  • Pertaining to all these research questions, the goals of the research are framed as follows:
  • To identify different influential factors shaping the perception of concern with crime among women and men.
  • To understand the public construction around men and women, and its effect on their conception of concern with crime.
  • To identify the precautionary measures taken by people for preventing or avoiding crime and difference in these options for women and men.

Review of the past research

Fear can be defined as the term which involves a variety and a mix of confused thoughts, estimations of dangers, perspectives, and thus have different meanings and applications for differing people. Crime is an all natural sensation in the society and the last mentioned cannot be free of it fully at any time. Fear is a natural response from population and folks towards crime. Wynne (2008) mentions the increasing importance and concern for fear of crime in previous few decades among criminologists, media, policy designers and public. There is certainly parallel expansion in sensitivity for being a sufferer of criminal offenses and concern with being a victim of criminal offenses.

Influential factors in fear of crime

Scott (2003) mentions that offences that have an instant effect on people surviving in culture, such as burglary, robbery, etc. creates an increased degree of dread among individuals rather than the crimes done on a more substantial level and on long-term basis. There is absolutely no universal meaning for concern with crime. It could be defined in various ways, such as a sense of personal security in the world or the city, an emotional response to possible crime that might be violent or any physical harm.

Doran and Burgess (2011) argue that constraining daily activity habits by people scheduled to concern with crime highly affects quality of life. All those damaged by fear of crime have the chances of succumbing to the exclusion or communal isolation. There is a regular finding for the partnership between fear of crime and gender. Women are more likely to suffer from concern with crime compared to men.

There differs meaning of fear of crime for men and women. Men are likely to be fearful of assaults; women have the best fear of criminal offense about sexually enthusiastic harm or harm. Shadow of erotic assault is a concept that explains worries of criminal offenses of females. Doubtlessly, women are most concerned about rape and intimate assault, but regarding to Ferraro (1995), women are fearful of other offences that can occur as a result. For instance, women are more fearful about burglary into their home than men; the reason being the probability of occurrence of any sexual harm (Wynne 2008).

Furthermore, Gabrosky (2008) declare that rape is recognized as a high account attack that appeals to extensive media coverage. This may have a shadowing effect on the perception of women for other types of offense against the individual. The author resulted in the conclusion that to be able to reduce the fear of criminal offenses among women, there should be reduction of concern with being raped.

Another influential factor for the fear of criminal offenses among individuals is age group. There are contradictory conclusions for the relationship between fear and years. Moore and Shepherd (2007) claim that while past studies showed elderly people as the most fearful people in the contemporary society, recent studies are confirming the contrary of the earlier studies. This shows contradictory results for the relationship between fear and get older. Scott (2003) mentions that elderly women are less fearful than younger women for intimate attacks. Moreover, since old people avoid going outside more at night, they can be less exposed to fear of criminal offense than their young counterparts as the young era spend additional time out of their house, and thus are definitely more fearful of assaults.

However, elder people are most worried for mugging and breaking into the house. Physical and social limitations of elderly make sure they are feel susceptible to the crime. Being a victim of burglary or robbery creates a high level of fear among folks of all age group (Farrall 2008).

Wynne (2008) states that perceived risk of fear of criminal offense has also a regards to the neighbourhood incivilities. Drunken behavior and alcohol usage publicly adversely impact the inhabitants of the area. Individuals leaving within an part of neighbourhood incivilities have significantly more constrained lifestyle activities and behaviour. You can find reduced natural security in these areas which raise the level of fear among people and make sure they are choose constrained life behavior.

Zebrowski (2007) argues that there surely is also a substantial relationship between dread and risk. If an individual thinks of anything that can expose him to the opportunity of being a victim of a crime, then the perceived risk is high. The probability of being a victim and the diagnosis of the offense rates in a particular situation and at a specific place evokes dread and perceived threat of being a victim of criminal offense against the person. However, risk is not objective and is designed by the communal and cultural influences.

Farrall (2008) sheds light on the role of multimedia, interpersonal communications and knowing a sufferer in shaping the amount of fear of offense among individuals. There may be significant effect of hearing reports from people regarding incidents of crime, marketing coverage and personal knowing of patients in raising the amount of fear of criminal offenses and perceived risk of victimization. This causes a rise in panic and the fear of offense. The indirect experience as opposed to the direct experience takes on a far more critical role in increasing concerns and anxieties about victimization, and fear of crime because advertising as well as social communications are obvious sources of getting access to second hand information about the criminal offense.

Gender variations in fear of crime

Kinsella (2011) states that the patriarchal ideology and the subordination of women are the factors that contributes to the high degree of fear of crime among women. Characteristics, such as independence, autonomy, etc. are believed as inappropriate for females and in case of a women learning to be a victim of criminal offense, these ideas are further mobilized. The above-mentioned characteristics also structure the socialization process for girls and the fear of criminal offense among women is related ideologically to the characteristics of feminism they are being taught in the society.

However, Fetchenhauer and Buunk (2005) have explained in their review that ladies have an increased degree of concern with crime than men, while the rate of victimization among women is less in comparison to their concern with crime against the individual. Females are usually more fearful of every event ranging from burglary, rape, erotic assault, mugging in the street to any type of physical accident. These gender variations can be related to the erotic selection which favours status and risk-taking battles among men, and safety and caution among women.

The vitality control theory assumes that the men are informed to be risk-taking and fearless, while women are informed to be risk-avoiding and fearful. However, a lot more level of concern with offense in females can't be related to the social stereotypes of male and feminine. It's the sexual collection of characteristics that leads to the gender differences in concern with crime.

Research Methodology

Research methodology is an important part of the research record as it gives the explanation of the techniques used for the collection of data and the reasoning behind these procedures. Following portions determine the research methodology for the study.

Research Approach

Deductive research procedure is chosen for the study study so as to accumulate large volume of qualitative data in respect of the perception of concern with crime among men and women and influential factors that condition the level of fear of offense among individuals. Deductive research strategy is helpful in collection of more specific data about the study objectives. It is also helpful in coming to the precise final results from generalized results (Crowther and Lancaster 2008).

Research Design

It assists in recognition of appropriate group of research methods that meet up with the identified research procedure well (Creswell 2003). It indicates the base of the study methods used for assortment of information related to this issue of the study. It identifies the overall strategy which is chosen to carry out the study and integrate different the different parts of the analysis. It acts as the blueprint for the study study collecting, calculating and analysing the info. To make a thorough research, most important and extra data from the discovered and preferred resources is taken into account. Exploratory research design is the look type determined for the analysis as it explores the important factors and sociable construction behind the fear of crime among individuals. It leads to obtaining history information on the research topic and make clear the existing concepts.

Research methods

Research methods help in collection of relevant data for the analysis. Both principal and secondary research methods are being used for the study study. Main research method includes semi-structured interviews of test.

In semi-structured interviews, respondents are given the opportunity to feel free about what is important to her alternatively than what is important to the interviewer. The interviewer also remains versatile and flexible to the situations in which he's interviewing the test (Bryman and Bell 2007).

The supplementary research method chosen for the research study is overview of days gone by research. The info is collected from real and reliable sources from internet including journal articles, books and other authentic resources over internet (Cooper 1998).

Sample selection

Appropriate sampling is essential for arranging the collection of data in an effective way. It has to be based on impartial approach so as to justify the strategy for data collection and increasing the reliability and validity of the accumulated data for attaining benefits (Denzin and Lincoln 2000).

Interview Respondents: A convenience test was adopted for the study study, consisting of 3 men and 3 women for studying the important factors in shaping the amount of fear of criminal offense among individuals. Six people residing in the administrative centre city of Australia were asked to participate in the study. The researcher chose to utilise a sample from one geographical location to be able to reduce the prospect of a skew in reporting on the fear of crime credited to divergent offense statistics and encounters in various geographic locations. The interviews were conducted via cell phone, by using a semi set up interview technique (Fink 2005).

Another semi-structured interview was conducted with 3 men and 3 women face-to-face from same geographic location of Australian capital city for identifying the differences in perception of concern with crime among women and men and gender distinctions in matter.

Data Research Approach

The data gathered from the semi-structured interviews is analysed qualitatively by saving the interview and transcribing the data into transcripts so as to analyse the data and arrive at findings of the study (Jackson 2008). Analysis of the accumulated data is done by describing the conclusions and factors theoretically with the aid of use of transcripts of both interviews.

Reliability and validity of the data

In order to help make the research reliable and valid, voluntary consent was extracted from respondents in order to actively try the study process. The personal information of the respondents is kept confidential apart from gender and age as these are crucial for finding and analysis of the accumulated main data. The trustworthiness of the evaluation is taken care of by recording the info while interviewing the individuals and preserving the confidentiality of the participants without including personal bias in the examination section of the research study (Bergh and Ketchen 2009).

Findings and analysis

The findings are analyzed with the help of use of transcripts and coded data to be able to attain the targets of the research in light of the study problem and questions, and enabling the researcher to get a concept about the important factors in concern with criminal offenses and gender distinctions in perception of offense against the individual.

Analysis of the interview questionnaire

In relation to the question regarding currently adopted measures for making the house and oneself secure, most of the respondents used deadlocks for entrance doors and kept doors and windows locked when they are out of the house. Those having kids tend to be more worried about the security of these kids. Use of alarm and moving into a good neighbourhood ideally an apartment are other methods utilized by them to make sure they are secure. As one respondent said, "I reside in an apartment stop and deliberately select one where you have to get buzzed in through an intercoms sytem. I feel that living in an apartment with neighbours around means that if something happens to me people will be around to help", it is evident fact that neighbourhood provides natural monitoring. Likewise other response, "I stay in a secure apartment organic. I select this complex since it has secure airport parking. It also has a security system that stops people engaging in the common areas" reveals the same influential factor of good neighbourhood and natural security.

Fear of particular crimes

All the female participants had the highest concern with being raped and sexual assault followed by home invasion which is again an result of being susceptible to almost any physical damage or assault by the invader. As said by one feminine respondent, "I'd be scared if someone broke into my home, because you never know what they are going to do to you if they are confronted. You are so vulnerable in your house in that situation", shows erotic assault is most fearful situation for women. For men, home invasion and mugged in the pub are particular crimes they have concern with. In home invasion too, worries of rape of little princess or wife is high alternatively than stealing of things or valuables as is noticeable from this response, "I am worried about my wife and kids being attacked and raped".

Age and fear of crime

It can be analyzed from responses that there is a romantic relationship between time and fear of crime and fear of type of criminal offense varies with time, especially women. Young women are fearful of erotic assaults while elder individuals both guy and female are worried and stressed over someone breaking in to the house and being mugged in the pub. As said by one old-age respondent, "We are seen as easy goals for teenagers. What also surprises me is the determination of teenagers to use violence and weaponry in crimes", it could be analyzed that age-old people are fearful of criminal offense for their interpersonal and physical limits. "I don't be concerned that much about any of it happening to me but I must say i worry about the youngsters"- this specific response with a middle-age women also shows they become less fearful of erotic assaults but have other concerns to be a sufferer of the criminal offenses. Middle age individuals also be concerned about their growing age group and, thus growing vulnerability of being a sufferer of criminal offenses as can be viewed out of this specific response: "They prefer to aim for all old people nevertheless they do horrible things to elderly women".

Role of media in perceived threat of being truly a victim

All the respondents said that the stories they listen to of the crime, media coverage and knowing the victim personally have influence their thinking about likelihood of being truly a victim of offense. Specific reactions, such as, "I read the news online and watch the TV, therefore i am pretty conscious of what is occurring with people being attacked in the city", "my partner getting attacked really worried me", "I am very involved with my kids institution, so I hear a great deal of testimonies through there", "I'm frightened of all this because the earth is merely so crazy these days and so much bad products happens and I listen to about it all the time", throws light on indirect experience as a major factor in influencing the fear of crime of individuals.

Relationship of neighbourhood and fear of crime

Most of the respondents were in arrangement a good neighbourhood provides natural monitoring and they're comparatively less apprehensive due to living in a good area. Among the respondents gave specific answer: "Say if you lived in a neighbourhood where criminal offenses is off the string then yeah, you would be scared of it whether you were a man or woman. But like me, I stay in a fairly chilled area where not much bad stuff happens". It can be analyzed that moving into a good neighbourhood lessens worries of criminal offenses in both men and women. Likewise, a terrible neighbourhood increases fear and anxiety as mentioned by one of the female respondents, "AS I take my dog for a walk around the neighbourhood, I often see youths hanging around in groups drinking and smoking and get quite scared that they might try to mug me".

Gender differences

In respect to the query whether women will be more fearful than men, all three female respondents agreed that women are more fearful; associated with social construction, more manifestation of thoughts and matter by women, and physical constraints. Man respondents also decided to the point which ultimately shows that females are usually more worrisome than men.

For the question of impact of stereotype of women being poor on fear of crime, all feminine respondents agreed that it's a fact and it has an effect on their degree of fear of criminal offense. One guy respondent was neutral and said that anybody could defence for the reason that situation, while two of these said that men can face the problem more bravely. It could be inferred from the reactions that social development and stereotype of women being in physical form poor contributes significantly in framing the level of fear of offense.

For the question of likelihood of being a sufferer of offense, both male and feminine respondents said that they do not continuously think to be a sufferer, but females demonstrated concern to be more careful and mindful when venturing out alone in nighttime as can be observed from the next responses: "I don't think it is that likely. I am quick to include that I don't think it is likely easily avoid places and things that increase my risk of being truly a victim", said by the male respondent, "My work requires me to work long hours, so I suppose the potential risks are a little bit higher because of that", "I tend to go out much more by myself to meet with friends; so yeah there are occasions I believe I am much more likely to have something happen", said by female respondents.

In respond to the question for reason for different behavior of people over concern with crime, the majority of the respondents said that the cultural engineering and the masculine factor of not admitting dread even when one possesses it makes women share more about worries of offense than men. However, one of the respondents brought up the role of one's education, set-up and kind of person is, in retaining different behavior of concern with crime. It could be analyzed from the above responses that societal building and difference in behaviour of women and men regarding being manly and feminine are important factors for gender distinctions in dread and criminal offense.

Discussion and conclusion

From the evaluation of the principal responses and supplementary research, it can be inferred that we now have certain influential factors in shaping worries of criminal offenses among individuals. As identified from the reactions, good neighbourhood reduces the chance to be a sufferer of crime, as the same is increased in vice-versa situation. Wynne (2008) in addition has mentioned the significance of natural surveillance and neighbourhood incivilities in shaping the amount of fear of offense among individuals. Fetchenhauer and Buunk (2005) throws light on women fearing more of crime than men due to the erotic selection that favours risk taking behavior men and protecting behavior of women. Primary research also confirms the actual fact that women fret more of fear of criminal offenses than men and is because of the natural characteristics of men and females.

Primary responses also shed light on gender differences in worst circumstance scenario for incident of crime. While men are usually worried of home invasion and being robbed or mugged in road, women were most fearful about erotic assaults followed by burglary. Zebrowski (2007) facilitates the finding proclaiming that ladies also feel bothered due to outcome of other offense situations, such as burglary, where female may possibly also face a erotic episode. Role of advertising and other indirect activities of crime increase the level of stress among individuals as mentioned by Farrall and Lee (2008). Primary research helps the finding as it is examined that most of the responses pointed towards media experiences, heard tales and personal knowing of any victim having influenced their level of fear of offense.

Patriarchal ideology of world and subordination of women to men brings about women fearing more than men (Kinsella 2011). Findings from the responses are in coherence with the extra research as the majority of the respondents decided that women stereotyped as being vulnerable and subordinate contributes to their degree of fear of offense. As Moore and Shepherd (2007) speak of more aged women being less fearful than more radiant women of being sexually assaulted, studies from interview also tips on more odds of young women being victimized anticipated to intimate assault or rape. However, sociable and physical vulnerability rises in old age leading to more fear of offense, which is also recognized in the analysis by Doran and Burgess (2011).

It can be concluded from overall research that influential factors in the framing of fear of criminal offenses among individuals include get older, neighbourhood, gender dissimilarities and stereotypes, and indirect experience of criminal offenses through media, social marketing communications and knowing of a victim of criminal offense. Concern with being victimized is higher in females than males which is attributed to the societal building and natural intimate selection that favours risk-taking frame of mind of men, and risk-avoiding and defensive frame of mind of women.

Limitations of the research

The study is limited to a single geographic location anticipated to which the results can't be generalized to other societies or geographies. The evaluation of the responses of 1 geographic location with another was not done. Personal common sense of the respondents and variation in individual viewpoints while responding was another restriction of the research. The primary data is accumulated by using interview method.

In this research work, the interview has been conducted with only 12 individuals in Canberra. That is another point of limitation as this would create problems in traveling relevant findings and generalizations. All in all, the limitation involved in this research is low test population for interview goal.

Future Recommendations

  • There should be inclusion of more than one geographic location so that contrast can be made between geographies about the fear of crime which can also help in generalization of the result.
  • To collect increasingly more exact data about the research problem, it is strongly recommended to only use real and reliable sources to collect standard information and additional use this information for finding specific final results in more appropriate way.
  • The test size should be preferred considering the purpose of the research so as to arrive at more authentic results and results in respect of the study problem.
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