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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 162893 Find in a Library
Title: Lifestyles of the Old and Not So Fearful: Life Situation and Older Persons' Fear of Crime
Journal: Journal of Criminal Justice  Volume:24  Issue:3  Dated:(1996)  Pages:191-205
Author(s): H V McCoy; J D Wooldredge; F T Cullen; P J Dubeck; S L Browning
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 15
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Based on a survey of 1,448 elderly residents of Dade County (Miami), Florida, this study assessed the impact on fear of crime of status characteristics, victimization experience, and various measures of life situation.
Abstract: The sample was selected through random-digit dialing, and the telephone interviews were conducted between July and October 1986. Two measures of fear of crime were included in the survey. First, the respondents were asked, "How safe do you feel or would you feel being out alone in your neighborhood?" Possible responses were very safe, safe, unsafe, and very unsafe. Second, the respondents were told that "As people get older some problems become more serious than others." They then were read a list of 13 common problems that included the statement "fear of crime." They were asked to rate the problems as either very serious, serious but manageable, or not a problem. Findings support in large part the position of revisionist scholars that elderly fear of crime is much overestimated in popular and academic literature. A substantial proportion of the sample indicated that they felt safe out alone in their neighborhoods and that fear of crime was not a serious problem. These findings, however, should not mask that a minority of the respondents felt unsafe to walk in their neighborhoods and defined fear of crime as a very serious problem. Findings also show that victimization experience increases, but is not the primary determinant of fear of crime. The inclusion of life-situation variables markedly improved the explained variance for both measures of fear of crime, thus supporting the utility of this line of inquiry. Consistent with previous studies, dissatisfaction with neighborhood and vulnerability were important correlates of fear of crime. 4 tables and 91 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Elderly victims; Fear of crime; Older Adults (65+); Psychological victimization effects; Victim attitudes
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