"Crime and the Racial Fears of White Americans," Annals of the American Academy
of Political and Social Science, 539 (May, 1995), 59-71.
It is widely assumed that expressions by many whites of concern about crime are rooted to a
significant degree in their fear of black people. It may be that white Americans translate their
unease about race relations into beliefs about crime, and vice versa, a linkage of potentially
great divisiveness. This article reviews research on the nexus between them. It examines
linkages between fear and white attitudes toward blacks and the anxiety created by close
residential proximity between the two groups. The chapter focuses on white fear because it is
one of the most compelling political constructs of our time. It is evoked as an explanation for
which backlash against progressive social and economic policies, the declining prospects for
the Democratic Party, and as a source of divisiveness that threatens the fabric of urban life.
"The Impact of Victimization on Fear," Crime and Delinquency, 33 (January, 1987),
This report examines the relationship between criminal victimization and fear of crime. Past
research has been surprisingly inconclusive about this issue, and some people's fears have
been branded "irrational" because the two did not appear to be tightly linked. However, the
data analyzed here indicate that victimization affects both fear-related attitudes and behavior
in a clear and consistent manner. This report also suggests that the impact of victimization is
relatively uniform. Some research has indicated that certain groups are especially affected by
crime, a claim that might be used to justify special treatment for selected vitims and has been
used to support demands for special "treatment" of selected offenders. However, the strong
effects of victimization registered in these data were not differentially distributed across
subgroups. In sum, most people do learn from their experiences, although other kinds of
learning are rational as well.