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Experience and Expression in the Fear of Crime

Running from January 2006 to July 2007, this ESRC-funded research project (with Stephen Farrall, University of Sheffield, and Emily Gray, University of Keele) investigated what fear of crime means as an everyday experience and what fear of crime expresses as a social attitude. The project was rated 'Outstanding' in the final assessment of the ESRC. There were two principal findings. 

  • First, worry about crime is relatively rare in England and Wales: 'fear' is both an (infrequent) everyday experience and a (more widespread) diffuse anxiety. Compared to anxiety about crime, everyday worry has a greater impact on quality of life and is more closely connected to crime and victimisation experience. 
  • Second, people do not separate out the issue of crime from issues of cohesion, collective efficacy, social change and tension: rather than being about an irrational (and narrow) sense of crime, fear (whether it is everyday worry or anxiety) expresses and distils lay diagnoses about neighbourhood breakdown and stability.

The results have been published in:

Here are some papers and book chapters arising from the project and from certain extensions of the work:

Other dissemination of the project findings: