Title

Individual and Community Predictors of Fear of Criminal Victimization: Results from a National Sample of Urban US Citizens

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Crime Prevention & Community Safety

Volume

11

Issue

2

Publisher

Palgrave Macmillan

Publication Date

2009

First Page

124

Last Page

140

DOI

10.1057/cpcs.2009.3

Abstract

The present study investigated the validity of the construct of fear of criminal victimization, and identified factors associated with fear and crime prevention behaviors using a nationally representative sample from 12 US cities. Confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling analyses indicated that along with individual-level characteristics, three latent constructs were predictive of fear and preventive behaviors, including: law enforcement, neighborhood environment and neighborhood crime. Specifically, knowledge of negative characteristics of the neighborhood environment and neighborhood crime were related to increased fear, whereas increased law enforcement activities were predictive of less fear. Additionally, knowledge of law enforcement activities and greater neighborhood crime lead to more preventive efforts, whereas knowledge of negative neighborhood characteristics lead to decreased preventive efforts. These findings provide empirical support for the multidimensionality of fear of criminal victimization, indicating that reformative efforts should be directed toward all three constructs in order to curtail fear.

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