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In Search of the Fear of Crime: Using Interdisciplinary Insights to Improve the Conceptualisation and Measurement of Everyday Insecurities

This was published as: Gray, E., Jackson, J. and Farrall, S. (2011). ‘In Search of the Fear of Crime: Using Interdisciplinary Insights to Improve the Conceptualisation and Measurement of Everyday Insecurities’, in Gadd, D., Karstedt, S. and Messner, S. (eds.), Sage Handbook of Criminological Researc

18 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2011 Last revised: 11 Mar 2013

Emily Gray

University of Sheffield

Jonathan Jackson

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

Stephen Farrall

University of Sheffield

Date Written: March 30, 2011

Abstract

This chapter provides a critical overview of research on public insecurities about crime. Spanning several decades and continents, this body of work tends to focus on negative emotional responses (fear, worry or anxiety) to the threat of common crime categories (burglary, theft, assault). First, the chapter charts the emergence of the fear of crime from the policy-relevant victimisation surveys of the 1960s in America, to its transformation into a staple feature of government statistics and object of academic significance. Despite the topic's high status however, it has remained a slippery research subject with real methodological complexities at its core. We outline some important breakthroughs from feminist and 'left realist' scholars, and highlight advances using experience-based questions and the 'expressive' dimensions of public insecurities about crime. Recognising the value of interdisciplinary research, we review what criminologists studying the fear of crime might learn from the 'psychology of survey response', studies in 'everyday emotions', and the better use of quantitative techniques and longitudinal data to capture the multi-dimensional and dynamic nature of fear.

Keywords: fear of crime, insecurity, everyday emotions, quantitative research, qualitative research.

JEL Classification: K40

Suggested Citation

Gray, Emily and Jackson, Jonathan and Farrall, Stephen, In Search of the Fear of Crime: Using Interdisciplinary Insights to Improve the Conceptualisation and Measurement of Everyday Insecurities (March 30, 2011). This was published as: Gray, E., Jackson, J. and Farrall, S. (2011). ‘In Search of the Fear of Crime: Using Interdisciplinary Insights to Improve the Conceptualisation and Measurement of Everyday Insecurities’, in Gadd, D., Karstedt, S. and Messner, S. (eds.), Sage Handbook of Criminological Researc. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1799251 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1799251

Emily Gray (Contact Author)

University of Sheffield ( email )

Bartolome House
Winter Street
Sheffield, S3 7ND
United Kingdom
44 114 222 6832 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.shef.ac.uk/law/staff/academic/egray

Jonathan Jackson

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

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

Stephen Farrall

University of Sheffield ( email )

Crookesmoor Building, Conduit Road
Sheffield S10 1FL
United Kingdom

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