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Reassessing Fear of Crime: The Role of Broad Insecurities

Recent political developments have seen appeals to widespread fear of crime being used to gain popular support. While fear of crime may be intuitively linked to personal vulnerability and past victimization, the persistence of high levels of fear, despite declining crime rates or low vulnerability among fearful groups, have prompted researchers to investigate other sources of fear of crime. We tested the hypothesis that fear of crime can be predicted by broad insecurities in financial standing, employment, children’s education, health maintenance, disaster preparedness, and human rights protection. Multivariate regression analysis showed that these broad insecurities have a significant underlying influence on fear of crime. Our results suggested that public perceptions of safety depend not only on tough policing and “cleaning up” communities, but also on providing economic opportunities, developing human capital, and securing people’s well-being.


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