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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 136936 Find in a Library
Title: Perceptions of Crime Seriousness and Fear of Crime
Journal: Sociological Focus  Volume:24  Issue:4  Dated:(October 1991)  Pages:315-327
Author(s): L N Smith; G D Hill
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 13
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Path analysis was performed on a sample of 3,109 households in North Carolina to explore how perceptions of crime seriousness mediate the effects of vulnerability to victimization on fear of crime. Vulnerability was measured by actual risk as determined by victimization experiences and income and differential sensitivity as determined by gender, age, education, and household composition.
Abstract: The net effects of gender, age, and education on fear of crime were all direct, suggesting a more generalized sense of social vulnerability than is actually suggested by actual risk. This direct effect supports earlier conclusions that at any given level of risk, real or perceived, certain groups express a higher level of fear. However, the lack of significant gender or age interaction effects with victimization and the failure to find differences between these groups on ratings of perceived crime seriousness do not support earlier differential sensitivity arguments. Females and older persons do not seem to respond with differential sensitivity to either victimization or perceptions of the seriousness of crime in their neighborhoods. Actual victimization appears to increase fear of crime both directly and indirectly by increasing the perception of vulnerability. 2 tables, 19 references, and 4 appendixes
Main Term(s): Fear of crime; Victimization risk
Index Term(s): Crime seriousness measures; North Carolina
Note: Presented at the annual meeting of the Southern Sociological Society, 1990.
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