Fear of crime: Its impact, causes and consequences

Rebecca J Siehr, Marquette University


The causes of fear of crime have been studied by researchers for over three decades. The examination of fear has generally followed a pattern of research whereby the most common antecedents of fear have focused on neighborhood deterioration, social demographics, and the media. The consequences of fear, that is, crime prevention measures, have also been analyzed, though with apparently less enthusiasm and interest than its causes. This study sought a comprehensive analysis of the contributory factors of the media, neighborhood deterioration, and social demographics on fear of crime, while additionally inspecting the uses and determining factors of crime prevention measures. Employing telephone survey research in Milwaukee County, with a total sample of 140 respondents, I analyzed these factors and their contributions toward fear. The findings in this dissertation supported prior research in several key areas, including finding moderate fear among residents of deteriorating neighborhoods, among people in lower income brackets, and among minorities. Other important findings discovered a greater use of avoidance measures by women and people in lower income brackets. Yet, findings in this research were also unique in comparison to other studies on this topic, with results supporting lower fear among the elderly, in comparison to other age groups, and an overall misperception of crime from nearly all respondents when questioned about crime outside of their local area. This analysis concludes by carefully inspecting the key contributions of this study for the topic of fear and the criminal justice field in general.

Recommended Citation

Siehr, Rebecca J, "Fear of crime: Its impact, causes and consequences" (2004). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI3153486.