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NCJ Number: 67099 Find in a Library
Title: PUBLIC ANXIETY ABOUT CRIME
Journal: PACIFIC SOCIOLOGICAL REVIEW  Volume:22  Issue:2  Dated:(APRIL 1979)  Pages:241-254
Author(s): R LOTZ
Corporate Author: Sage Publications, Inc
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 14
Sponsoring Agency: Sage Publications, Inc
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE THESIS THAT ANXIETY ABOUT CRIME CONSISTS OF TWO COMPONENTS--FEAR, WHICH HAS SOME RATIONAL BASIS, AND CONCERN, WHICH DOES NOT--IS REEXAMINED IN A STUDY USING DIFFERENT INDICATORS AND A DIFFERENT SAMPLE.
Abstract: SOME RESEARCHERS HAVE CONCLUDED THAT ANXIETY ABOUT CRIME IS A PROBLEM EQUALLY AS IMPORTANT AS CRIME ITSELF, BECAUSE FEAR OF CRIME REDUCES INFORMAL SOCIAL CONTROL WHICH, IN TURN, INCREASES CRIME. FURSTENBERG IN HIS 1971 STUDY OF BALTIMORE, MD., CONFRONTED THIS PROBLEM BY ASSUMING ANXIETY CONSISTS OF TWO CONCEPTS--FEAR, WHICH IS BASED ON REASON, AND CONCERN, WHICH IS PROBABLY NOT. FEAR REFERS TO AN INDIVIDUAL'S PERCEIVED CHANCES OF BEING A VICTIM, WHILE CONCERN IS ONE'S ESTIMATE OF THE RELATIVE SERIOUSNESS OF CRIME NATIONALLY. FURSTENBERG FOUND (1) FEAR AND CONCERN ARE UNRELATED AND (2) CONCERN IS WEAKLY AND NEGATIVELY ASSOCIATED WITH AREA CRIME RATE AND MORE POSITIVELY RELATED TO COMMITMENT TO THE EXISTING SOCIAL ORDERS. HE CONCLUDED THAT CONCERN IS IRRATIONAL AND RELATED TO RESENTMENT OF CHANGING SOCIAL CONDITIONS. THIS STUDY RETESTS HIS THESIS BY APPLYING IT TO THE STATE OF WASHINGTON. A QUESTIONNAIRE WAS SENT TO A SYSTEMATIC SAMPLE OF NONBUSINESS TELEPHONE LISTINGS AND 1,149 WERE COMPLETED AND RETURNED. PUBLIC ANXIETY ABOUT CRIME AND CONCERN WERE MEASURED BY PRESENTING CRIME AND DELINQUENCY AMONG A SERIES OF SOCIAL PROBLEMS AND ASKING RESPONDENTS TO SELECT WHICH WERE THE TWO MOST SERIOUS PROBLEMS FACING THE UNITED STATES. TWO OTHER ITEMS TESTED CONCERN. FEAR WAS MEASURED BY A QUESTION ON THE EXTENT OF FEAR OF CRIME IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD. RESULTS FROM THE QUESTIONNAIRE INCREASED THE EMPIRICAL SUPPORT FOR FURSTENBERG'S HYPOTHESIS, ALTHOUGH FEAR AND CONCERN WERE FOUND TO BE NOT ENTIRELY INDEPENDENT OF ONE ANOTHER. CONCERN WAS FOUND TO BE UNRELATED TO VICTIMIZATION, BUT RELATED TO CONSERVATISM, OR OPPOSITION TO SOCIAL CHANGE. FEAR WAS FOUND RELATED TO VICTIMIZATION EXPERIENCE, BUT NOT TO ATTITUDES TOWARD SOCIAL CHANGE. SECURITY MEASURES WERE FOUND TO BE RELATED TO VICTIMIZATION MORE STRONGLY THAN TO GENERIC FEAR. THUS FEAR HAS SOME BASIS IN VICTIMIZATION EXPERIENCE, WHILE CONCERN DERIVES FROM HOSTILITY TOWARD SOCIAL CHANGE, ESPECIALLY CHANGE INVOLVING MINORITIES. TABULAR DATA, NOTES, AND REFERENCES ARE INCLUDED. (MJW)
Index Term(s): Citizen crime tolerance; Fear of crime; Psychological victimization effects; Public Attitudes/Opinion; Theory; Victimization; Victimization surveys
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=67099

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