FEAR OF CRIME

THE JOHN HOWARD SOCIETY OF ALBERTA

1998

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Fear of crime is a very prevalent issue today. Many people in today's society express anxiety and fear about crime, and about being victimized.

The level of fear that a person holds depends on many factors, including gender, age, any past experiences with crime that a person may have, where one lives, and one's ethnicity. All of these factors have an impact on fear levels.

People react to fear in different ways. Some people try to avoid crime, others try to protect themselves, and still others try to prevent victimization by not possessing anything for which they can be victimized.

Both the government and the police have launched attempts to reduce the public's fear of crime. Police services have created numerous programs including education of victimization risks and of protective behaviours, Neighbourhood Watch, Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design, and foot patrol. The government has implemented new legislation, such as amendments to the administration of youth justice, Bill C-36, Bill C-45, Bill C-55 and community notification.

The media play a substantial role in determining the amount of fear of crime that people hold. This comes from the fact that the media extensively and disproportionately cover crime stories. This leads people to believe that there is more crime than there actually is, and believing that a great amount of crime exists in society leads people to fear.


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