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Urban Fear and its Roots in Place

Brunton-Smith, I. and Jackson, J. (2012). ‘Urban Fear and its Roots in Place’, in Ceccato, V. (ed.) Urban Fabric of Crime and Fear. London: Springer, pp. 55-82.

23 Pages Posted: 3 Sep 2010 Last revised: 13 Sep 2014

Ian Brunton-Smith

University of Surrey - Department of Sociology

Jonathan Jackson

London School of Economics & Political Science - Department of Methodology

Date Written: July 27, 2012

Abstract

Where you live seems to shape your worry about crime. Structural characteristics of neighbourhoods, visual signs of disorder and recorded crime have all been shown to have a direct and independent effect on individual levels of fear of crime. But when individuals evaluate their personal risk of crime, do they draw on the wider social and physical environment that extends beyond their own neighbourhood’s boundaries? Does – in short – the wider urban fabric matter? In this chapter we link individual survey data (from a national probability sample of individuals resident in urban areas of England and Wales) to independent measures of neighborhood demographic characteristics, visual signs of disorder, and reported crime. Testing so-called ‘spatial autocorrelation’, our findings indicate geographical spill-over effects. Living near an area with high crime rate and visible signs of low level disorder is associated with a higher probability of worrying about crime, even holding constant one’s immediate neighbourhood context. People’s conceptions of their neighbourhood may be more complex than standard administrative boundaries, with people’s routine activities often taking them further than their own immediate locality. Equally, individuals may also assume that the crime and disorder that occurs ‘next door’ can intrude on their own ‘doorstep.’

Keywords: fear of crime, neighbourhood effects, multi-level modelling, spatial autocorrelation

JEL Classification: K4

Suggested Citation

Brunton-Smith, Ian and Jackson, Jonathan, Urban Fear and its Roots in Place (July 27, 2012). Brunton-Smith, I. and Jackson, J. (2012). ‘Urban Fear and its Roots in Place’, in Ceccato, V. (ed.) Urban Fabric of Crime and Fear. London: Springer, pp. 55-82.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1670657

Ian Brunton-Smith (Contact Author)

University of Surrey - Department of Sociology ( email )

United States

Jonathan Jackson

London School of Economics & Political Science - Department of Methodology ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom
+0044-207-955-7652 (Phone)

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