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NCJ Number: 199944 Find in a Library
Title: Fear of Gangs: A Test of Alternative Theoretical Models
Journal: Justice Quarterly  Volume:20  Issue:1  Dated:March 2003  Pages:95-130
Author(s): Charles M. Katz; Vincent J. Webb; Todd A. Armstrong
Date Published: March 2003
Page Count: 36
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Based on data drawn from 800 randomly selected residents in a large southwestern metropolitan city, this study assessed the influence of 4 theoretical models on fear of crime and fear of gangs.
Abstract: Over the past 20 years, the study of the fear of crime has been guided by four theoretical models: the victimization model, which explains fear of crime through concepts related to perceived vulnerability and various experiences and perceptions of victimization; the disorder model, which argues that weak symbols of informal social control (disorder) nurture the fear of crime; the community-concern model, which hypothesizes that fear of crime is related to residents' perceptions of community dynamics; and the subcultural-diversity model, which posits that fear of crime results from living near persons who have cultural backgrounds different from one's own. Data for the current study were collected through telephone surveys conducted from August 15, 2001, to September 8, 2001. The survey included questions about the respondents' perceptions of social disorganization, physical disorder, and cultural conflict in their neighborhoods, as well as about their fear of crime and fear of gangs, victimization, and basic demographic characteristics. The sample consisted of 800 randomly selected respondents who were drawn from a high-gang or low-gang area. The analyses showed that women were significantly more likely to fear crime, but were not more fearful of gangs than men. Nonwhite (primarily Hispanic) respondents were more fearful of gangs than were the White respondents. Further, direct gang and nongang victimization and indirect nongang victimization significantly increased fear of crime and fear of gangs, and the effect of these factors influenced both types of fear to a similar extent. The study found that although disorder had a significant impact on both fear of crime and fear of gangs, the effect of disorder on fear of gangs was statistically greater than that for fear of crime. Both fear of crime and fear of gangs were related to subcultural diversity and worries about culturally influenced behavior. Suggestions are offered for future research and responses to the fear of crime and fear of gangs. 6 tables, 96 references, and appended scale items
Main Term(s): Gangs
Index Term(s): Causal models; Cultural influences; Fear of crime; Public Opinion of Crime; Social conditions; Victimization; Victimization risk
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