Relationship among Fear of Crime and Personal Characteristics

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Relationship among fear of crime and personal characteristics


Criminal psychologists consider fear of crime a “hot issue” that has resulted in a large amount of work over the previous several decades. It’s because more people are afraid of crime than have been the victim of a crime themselves. When it comes to the general public’s perceptions of crime, this dread has gained substantial prominence. Researchers have been trying to figure out why certain people are more afraid of crime than others, in order to explain this phenomenon. Despite the importance of social demographic variables such as gender, age, education, and victimization in predicting fear of crime, research has largely ignored the importance of specific individual variables, such as personality traits and dispositional or trait emotions, in understanding the phenomenon. When it comes to determining why people are afraid of crime, few academics have taken into account the psychological aspects. It is argued for the importance of examining the connection between fear of crime and other characteristics that are intrinsically linked to emotions like personality traits (neuroticism, extraversion, and psychoticism). Despite the fact that personality traits such as neuroticism and fear of crime have been linked, it seems that academics have overlooked the possibility that these differences in personality might explain why people are afraid of crime (Franc and Sucic, 2014).

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Furthermore, it is important to determine whether a person’s overall dread of the world, known as trait fear, affects how they show their fear of crime. Trait emotion, as described by Izard (1977), is a person’s proclivity to feel a certain emotion on a regular basis. Individuals who score high on a measure of trait fear may also have greater levels of fear of crime if the fear of crime comprises emotional, cognitive, and behavioural components. We think that a better understanding of the individual’s motives and emotions may be gained by exploring the link between trait fear and fear of crime.

Here, find an overview of the most relevant theoretical ideas and empirical evidence on the link between various factors and fear of crime, as shown below.

Problem Statement

Increased anxiety, disengagement from social activities, a decrease in integration into society, and changes in everyday personal habits are all linked to fear of crime (Zhao, Lawton, & Longmire, 2015). Because of this, cities are becoming more aggressive in their efforts to enhance their attractiveness, livability, and general vitality. By reducing people’s fears about criminal activity, this initiative hopes to attract more tourists and stimulate consumer spending in cities around the country. Thus, this research examines the realities of fear of crime.

0. Indicators of fear

0. Demographic characteristics

Studies in the past focused on individual-level (demographic) variables, which may have an impact on fear of crime. There is a strong correlation between fear of crime (older people and females), as well as the likelihood of becoming a victim of crime, according to these studies. The vulnerability viewpoint refers to this contradictory link between fear of crime and the likelihood of victimization (Wyant, 2008). An individual’s perceived vulnerability to threats and/or their perceived susceptibility to the possible damages (i.e., sustained injury, severe loss of property) of victimization are factors that contribute to an individual’s sense of fear, according to the vulnerability viewpoint ((Franc and Sucic, 2014). Gender, age, marital status, education, and wealth have all been connected to a greater fear of crime and a greater likelihood of becoming a victim of crime. Females are more afraid of criminal victimization than men, according to studies on individual traits and fear of crime. According to others, the same pattern emerges regardless of what form of criminal activity is being studied. However, this appears to contradict the fact that women are significantly less likely to be victims of crime than their male counterparts, save in the case of rape and sexual assault (Rand, 2008). Their fear may be more intimately linked to their chances of being victimised than they realise. Some researchers believe that gender variations in fear are a sign of the underlying disparities between men and females in their fears. Women’s fear of being sexually assaulted by their male counterparts is at the heart of their worries about crime, whereas for men it’s more likely that they’re concerned about being assaulted or robbed by other men in their own gender group (Schafer et al., 2006). When it comes to the elderly (or those who are 65 and over), they have a greater dread of crime than younger segments of the population.  A fear of crime among the elderly was easily linked to their perceived susceptibility to crime by early researchers such as Yin (1980). Instead, then seeing themselves as more vulnerable to harm (i.e., long-term damage) in the event of a crime, older people may see themselves as more vulnerable to harm (i.e., sustainable injury). Race and ethnicity, marital status, educational level, and money have all been connected to a fear of crime, albeit these factors have received significantly less attention than gender and age. Indeed, several researchers have recognized these qualities because of their connections to gender and age. Even among old African American women, Ortega and Myles (1987) found that fear of crime was stronger among elderly African American women than among elderly white males and females. Low-income minorities in metropolitan settings are more afraid of crime than their suburban and rural counterparts, according to Skogan and Maxfield (1981). These complicated links between human qualities and fear of crime are commonly explained using the vulnerability approach. These studies show that those who have qualities that make it more difficult for them to resist crime (particularly violent street crime) or who are more likely to encounter it do indeed report high feelings of anxiety, which lends credence to this point of view (Wyant,2008). Markowitz and colleagues (2001) propose that fear of crime, disorder, and social cohesiveness are likely to be mutually reinforcing. There is a direct correlation between disorder and cohesiveness, although this correlation is mediated by fear of crime. People’s personal features, as well as their surroundings, are essential factors in determining their level of dread of crime, according to the literature on the subject. It’s not apparent, however, how strong the link between individual qualities and fear of crime is, if any at all. Consider the impact of local circumstances on people’s fear of crime, adjusting for demographic features that have been connected to this worry in previous studies.

Literature Review

Single objects or scales have been used to represent the fear of crime. Researchers have tackled a wide variety of issues related to reliability and validity.  This definition of fear of crime is consistent with Ferraro and LaGrange (1987) definition of fear of crime as a person’s emotional response to crime or the symbols associated with crime. Affective fear is not a perception of the world, but rather an emotional response to the observed environment, according to Warr (2000). A person’s physical functions undergo a sequence of changes as a result of fear, which then serves as a warning of possible danger (Warr, 2000). Jackson and Gouseti (2012) argue that “fear” of crime is a complex emotional response to the risk of becoming a victim. For example, fear, concern, and what Jackson and Gouseti (2012) call “anxiety” are all examples of physiological reactions to acute threats (a more widespread diffuse low-level emotion). Affective and cognitive aspects are often distinguished by researchers, who argue that each has a separate character. Personal danger, the risk of victimisation, and a judgement have all been referred to as the cognitive dimensions (Ferraro & LaGrange, 1987). Individuals estimate the rate of victimisation or the likelihood of a victimisation in relation to the person making a judgement (Warr, 2000). Researchers have shown that fear of crime is linked to a person’s perception of how likely it is that they would be victimised (e.g., Ferraro, 1995; Mesch, 2000). Different predictors may also be used to explain each of the facets (e.g., Rountree & Land, 1996). Finally, the behavioural component is operational and manifests itself in the regularity with which people walk out at night, protect their houses against probable intruders, and avoid interaction with certain persons. They may be categorised as “avoidance,” “protection,” or even “defence.” These behavioural expressions can be grouped into three categories: “avoidance” and “protection,” and “defence” (Hale, 1996).

0. Fear of crime determinants

Individual, environmental, and societal models are all examined in the scientific literature when it comes to predicting fear of criminality. Individual factors, such as personality traits and trait emotions, have been overlooked despite their prominence in research on fear of crime. Individual factors that influence fear of crime, such as personality and emotional qualities, will be examined further in the following paragraphs.


Gender has repeatedly been shown to be the strongest predictor of fear of crime in the scientific literature. Some crimes (e.g., stalking and domestic violence) are more likely to be committed against those with low levels of fear (men) than those who have high levels of fear (women). The “fear-victimization paradox” refers to this discrepancy (Warr, 1984). There have been several efforts to make sense of this seemingly inexplicable behaviour. Official crime statistics fail to accurately reflect the entire amount of female victimisation, according to Sacco (1990).

Sexual assault may affect a woman’s fear of crime, according to some other academics. Fear-victimization paradox explanations tend to focus exclusively on the “male side” of the equation, ignoring the influence it has on women’s fear of crime and fearless men, according to some scholars. If this is the case, then men’s lack of anxiety might be attributed to concerns linked to self-presentation and social desirability (Jackson and Ioanna Gouseti, 2013). Age In research examining the association between fear of crime and age, the findings have been varied. Fear of crime is more prevalent among the elderly, according to several research

In contrast to this, others argue that young people have a greater dread of crime than older individuals. Furthermore, several studies have shown that old age does not seem to be a major factor in a person’s level of fear. There have been a number of theories put up to explain why elderly people are more fearful than younger people. Because they think of themselves as more vulnerable, they are less likely to take precautions against criminals. Fear of crime rises as a result of this sense of vulnerability (Rader, Crossman & Porter, 2012). Others argue that the diverse methods in which fear of crime is operationalized are to blame for the discrepancies in the results. There was a correlation between younger people’s dread of violent crime and burglary and older people’s fear of these crimes, according to Rountree (1998). In an experimental investigation, Ziegler and Mitchell (2003) discovered that those who saw a violent movie in a laboratory environment had a greater fear of crime than others. Although this was a generalised effect, it was confined to those under the age of 30 (Jackson and Ioanna Gouseti, 2013).

0. Education, social position and ethnicity

According to research, those with lower levels of education report greater feelings of fear.  A negative association between fear of crime and social status has also been established when it comes to economic disadvantage. Groups with greater disadvantage are often thought to be more fearful owing to, for instance, a reduced ability to afford items connected with protection, which might result in the avoidance illegal victimizations.  Furthermore, persons belonging to racial minorities report greater levels of fear of crime. However, scholars such as Cobbina, Miller and Brunson (2008) discovered that the association between race and fear is reliant on other characteristics such as age or gender. Skogan (1995) argued that Afro-Americans have a greater fear of crime because they are more likely to be victims of violent crime and more likely to live in high-crime regions (Kang and Seo, 2020a).

0. Victimization

The fear of crime may be triggered by both direct and indirect trauma. Mixed outcomes have been found in the scientific literature on direct victimisation . For example, the data is broken out according to the method of measurement used (global or specific). Fear of crime and victimisation, on the other hand, might have a positive or negative link with perceived risk and prior victimisation. It has been suggested that dealing with indirect victimisation may be more difficult than dealing with direct victimisation by researchers such as Russo and Roccato (2010) and Hale (1996) since the former is more prevalent and allows for a broader range of imagination to take hold. Though there are few studies linking the two, those that do tend to find a link between people’s fear of crime and being a victim in some other way.

0. The relationship between personality and fear of crime

Emotions, both good and negative, have long been studied as a factor in personality. Personality characteristics and general and particular emotional categories are clearly linked in this research (Weiting, 2009). There has been a high correlation between neuroticism and an increase in unpleasant feelings, a person’s limbic system is more susceptible to fear-related connections if he or she is neurotic (Macassa et al., 2018).


Survey and participants

This study relied on data from a criminal database. School of Criminology academics created the survey instrument for their research aims. After a series of brief interviews were performed to identify potential problems, the input received was utilized to further refine the instrument.

Methods and Measures

This study conducted a research based on survey technique. For this study positivism research philosophy was implied. Positivism results based on the actual facts and figures of the social life events. The data was collected through secondary source such as questionnaire. The questionnaire was comprised of Likert scale. Moreover, the deductive approach was utilized in this study. Due to the line of reasoning, the results are deduced to draw the conclusions. The conclusions are made on the basis of hypothesis created. With the help of descriptive statistics, the average, standard deviation and variance is being calculated. Furthermore, there are several variables that are included. The descriptive statistics table is given in the appendix. For more conclusive results, the regression analysis is performed to evaluate the relationship among dependent and independent variables.


Regression analysis:

Multiple linear regression is the primary approach for identifying the association between two or more independent variables and a single dependent variable. The number of independent variables in each model is different. When two variables are linked, regression analysis is performed to find the relationship between them Multiple independent variables might be influenced by other things in the real world, thus we need to look at additional regression models than the one that only works with a single independent variable.

For this study, linear regression analysis is being performed with the help of SPSS. The impact of dependent variable and independent variable is evaluated and it is explained in the table below.

Ho: There is no significant impact of crime precautions on non-crime anxiety, crime precautions at home and general crime precautions

H1: There is a significant impact of crime precautions on non-crime anxiety, crime precautions at home and general crime precautions.

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