Other Variables

There are several other variables which have been examined in order to see if they have an effect on fear of crime. These variables are not as prominent as the ones listed above, but their effects are still worth noting. Factors such as low income levels (Evans, 1995; Silverman & Kennedy, 1983), and low educational levels (Evans, 1995) tend to increase levels of fear.

In examining who is afraid of crime and why, virtually every study has come up with the conclusion that women and the elderly fear crime the most, and this fear is not justified by their victimization rate.

REACTIONS TO THE FEAR OF CRIME

Citizen Reaction

Due to their fear of crime, people try to reduce their risk of victimization in three ways: avoidance behaviours, protective behaviours, and insurance behaviours (Garofalo, 1981). Avoidance behaviours are restrictive, involving avoiding unsafe areas at night or certain locations altogether, or reducing social interaction and movements outside of the home. One in ten Canadians restrict themselves because their fear of crime (Lorex Safety and Security, 1995, p. 30). Protective behaviours include obtaining security systems and watch dogs, joining self-defence courses, and/or participating in community programs such as Neighbourhood Watch. Insurance behaviours aim at reducing one's risk through the minimization of victimization costs, leaving the person feeling that they do not have anything of value to be victimized for, and therefore will not be victimized.

Since these fear-reducing measures do not completely reduce the fear of crime, there are cries for the police services and the government to take action.

THE POLICE AND GOVERNMENT REACTION

Police and politicians alike hoped that by providing the fearful with accurate and true information on victimization risks, crime rates, crime in their neighbourhoods, and proper ways to protect themselves, people would have no reason to fear, and fear would be reduced. Educating people about crime is a simple and inexpensive method of reducing fear compared to other methods such as increasing the number of police officers or changing legislation. This method though does not guarantee decreased levels of fear.


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