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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 194537 Find in a Library
Title: Aging and the Fear of Crime: Recent Results From East and West Germany
Journal: International Review of Victimology  Volume:8  Issue:1  Dated:2001  Pages:75-112
Author(s): Helmut Kury; Joachim Obergfell-Fuchs; Theodore Ferdinand
Date Published: 2001
Page Count: 38
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This article presents a study examining aging and fear of crime in East and West Germany since reunification.
Abstract: In 1990, 2 large victim studies were conducted simultaneously in East and West Germany, and included respectively 4,999 and 2,027 randomly selected respondents of at least 14 years. In 1995, questionnaires focusing on victimizations within the past year were administered in East and West Germany, including 4,202 and 16,493 respondents respectively. Some of the hypotheses of these studies were: (1) that the fear of crime could be broken down into emotional fear and a cognitive estimate or risk; (2) fear in both Germanys was dependent on gender, previous victimizations, size of community, income, educational attainment, and age; (3) an earlier crime victimization has a greater impact on fear than does age; and (4) the crime-fear paradox is at best marginally useful. Results showed that the crime-fear paradox, if valid at all, held only for young women and elderly male victims. Young women show greater emotional fear than the rest, though this fear was grounded in their heightened risk of victimization especially from sexual crimes, though unlike other groups, their fear exceeded their sense of risk. With men fear of crime fell as they moved into middle age, but from middle age on it climbs again -- slowly in West Germany but sharply in East Germany. In East Germany men in late middle age showed the greatest fear, but in West Germany the oldest group did. It appeared that criminality and its after-effects explained this pattern. If one regards fear of crime within the context of lifestyle, a fear of crime can be readily understood as part of a broader fear. Victims always experience more fear of crime than non-victims. Emotional fear among West German non-victim females fell gradually with advancing age until it finally moved higher in the very oldest group. The level of emotional fear among non-victim men in both East and West Germany climbed broadly with advancing age. 3 tables, 7 figures, 9 notes, 62 references
Main Term(s): Fear of crime; Germany
Index Term(s): Crimes against the elderly; Older Adults (65+); Public Attitudes/Opinion; Public Opinion of Crime; Reactions to crime; Victim reactions to crime
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