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Geography of Fear and Fear of Crime Essay

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Geography of fear and fear of crime in society today has been widely researched. In this essay fear of crime is used in the context of an individual’s perceived risk of becoming a victim of crime. This essay will explain Cater and Jones statement and discuss how media portrayal, environmental incivility in urban leading to loss of authority of space by local people and urban encroachment of rural areas shape the ‘geography of fear’. These factors at individual, neighbourhood and community level will be evaluated in ways so fear of crime can be reduced in urban and rural areas.

‘In its social and behavioural impact fear of crime may be as potent as victimisation itself’ (Cater and Jones, 1989: 104) relates to the geography of crime, best defined as ‘the relevance of space to the study of criminal offenders, the incidence of crime and the characteristics of victims’ (Smith, 1989). In terms of explaining Cater and Jones’ statement, it means that it is not so much peoples ‘actual’ experience of crime that makes them fear it but the possibility and anxiety they could be a victim rather than have been a victim – the indirect perspective of fear of crime. In today’s society people tailor routes they take avoiding times and places deemed as dangerous and unsafe. This increases anxiety levels as Smith, (1986) says it exposes people to ‘emotional’ stress and constricts their movements. It is argued the elderly and youngest members of our society are the most fearful of crime however, of these age groups the elderly have the lowest risk of becoming victims of crime (James, 1992). Cater and Jones (1989) suggest how in certain respects ‘fear of crime’ is irrational with research by Hough and Mayhew (1983) conclude that fear of crime is not...


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...rceived reality and the cultivation hypothesis’ Journal of
Broadcasting and Electronic Media. Vol. 30(2): 159-174.
Schlesinger, P. and Tumber, H. (1994) Reporting Crime. Oxford: Clarendon.
Smith, S. J. (1986) 'Social and Spatial Aspects of the Fear of Crime' in Evans, D. The Geography of Crime. North Staffordshire Polytechnic Department of Geography Occasional Paper 7.
Smith S.J. (1989) ‘The challenge of urban crime’ Chapter 15 in Herbert D.T. and Smith D.M. (eds.) Social Problems and the City: New Perspectives (2nd Edition)
Yarwood, R. (2001) Crime and policing in the British Countryside: some agendas for contemporary geographical research Sociologia Ruralis, 41.2, 201-219
Zhao, J. Schneider, M. and Quint, T. (2002) ‘The effect of police presence on public fear reduction and satisfaction: A review of the literature’. The Justice Professional. vol. 15(3): 273-299.



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