"On Attitudes and Behaviors," in Dan A. Lewis (ed.) Reactions to Crime. Newbury
Park, CA: Sage Publications, 1981, 19-45.
This chapter examines what people think about crime and what they do in response to it. It is
easy to assume there is a simple relationship between the two, and that those perceiving more
crime or experiencing more fear are the most likely to respond to the problem. However,
research indicates there is not a simple one-to-one relationship between perception and
action, even when the fear component of those perceptions is involved. In an attempt to clarify
this apparent paradox, the chapter first examines what people think about crime. Popular
perceptions of crime can be classified as “beliefs about crime,” “assessments of risk,” and
“fear of victimization.”  These perceptual dimensions are related in different ways to people’s
experiences and neighborhood conditions. The next section enumerates things individuals can
do to protect themselves from victimization and to reduce crime. These include precautions
against personal crime, household protection, participation in community organizations, and
flight to the suburbs. The last section of this chapter summarizes several theories which link
perceptions and behavior.
“The Fear of Crime and Its Behavioral Implications.” In Ezzat Fattah (ed.), From Crime
Policy to Victim Policy: Reorienting the Justice System. London: Macmillan, 1986, 167-
In the decade-and-a-half since victimization surveys were conducted in the US for the Crime
Commission there has been a great deal of descriptive research on “fear of crime.”  Under this
headline pollsters have revealed that people rate their chances of being victimized as
moderate (below, for example, being involved in an auto accident), but substantial numbers of
Americans fear to walk somewhere not far from where they live, and virtually everyone thinks
crime is increasing. This chapter summarizes some of this research, proposing three concepts
by which many of these descriptive findings can be categorized: they are beliefs about crime,
assessments of risk of victimization, and perceived threat of crime. The two latter categories
turn out to deserve the general appellation “fear of crime,” although they are conceptually
distinct and measure somewhat different things. However, the next section of the chapter
argues that the most important manifestation of fear of crime is its implications for behavior.
This raises at least two problems. Firstly, there has been much less good research on crime-
related behaviors. Secondly, most research indicates that “crime-related behaviors” are only
marginally related to many measures of fear. The first section of this chapter comments briefly
on this paradox. The second section proposes some solution, in the form of four models of
crime-related behavior which do not assume (as empirically seems the case) that attitudes and
behaviors in this area are necessarily congruent.
Fear of Crime Abstracts