Functional Fear and Public Insecurities About Crime
Posted: 15 Dec 2009 Last revised: 8 Mar 2013
Date Written: January 1, 2010
Fear of crime is widely seen as an unqualified social ill, yet might some level of emotional response comprise a natural defense against crime? Our methodology differentiates between a dysfunctional worry that erodes quality of life and a functional worry that motivates vigilance and routine precaution. A London-based survey shows that one-quarter of those individuals who said they were worried about crime also viewed their worry as something akin to a problem-solving activity: they took precautions; these precautions that made them feel safer; and neither the precautions nor the worries reduced the quality of their lives. Fear of crime can therefore be helpful as well as harmful: some people are both able and willing to convert their concerns into constructive action.
Keywords: fear of crime, emotion, resilience, neighborhood disorder
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