"Fear of Crime and Neighborhood Change," in Albert J. Reiss and Michael Tonry
(eds), Communities and Crime. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986, 203-229.
Crime rates and the quality of life do not necessarily change in direct response to changes in
the physical and social characteristics of neighborhoods. Developments that have an indirect
effect on increasing crime rates and fear of crime include neighborhood disinvestment,
demolition and construction activities, demagoguery, and deindustrialization. Other factors
such as government programs, collective neighborhood action, and individual initiatives and
interventions help to maintain neighborhood stability. Fear of crime in declining
neighborhoods does not always accurately reflect actual crime levels. It is derived from
primary and secondary knowledge of neighborhood crime rates, observable evidence of
physical and social disorder, and prejudices arising from changes in neighborhood ethnic
composition. Regardless of its source, fear of crime may stimulate and accelerate
neighborhood decline. Increasing fear of crime may cause individuals to withdraw physically
and psychologically from community life. This weakens informal processes of social control
that inhibit crime and disorder, and it produces a decline in the organizational life and the
mobilization capacity of a neighborhood. Fear may also contribute to the deterioration of
business conditions. The importation and local production of delinquency and deviance may
also be influenced by perceptions of neighborhood crime rates. Changes in the composition of
the resident population may be stimulated by the cumulative effects of fear. Fear of crime
does not inevitably encourage or result in urban decline as “gentrification” demonstrates.
"Public Policy and the Fear of Crime in Large American Cities," in John A. Gardiner
(ed.) Public Law and Public Policy. New York: Praeger, 1977, Chapter 1, 1-18.
Data on crimes and victims–which primarily were collected in the federal government’s
victimization surveys–are organized around six working hypothesis that must be confronted by
prospective social engineers in the criminal-justice system:  1) Policies have different effects
on different types of crime, and often that effect is negligible. 2) Different types of crime have
different effects on the fear of crime, and that effect varies from group to group. 3) The fear of
crime is usually generated vicariously and not be direct victimization. 4) The fear of crime is
affected by many social factors that have little to do with victimization, directly or indirectly. 5)
The relationship between expressed fear and actual behaviors is problematic. 6) The causal  
system underlying the fear of crime is characterized by positive feedback and accelerating
rates of change. After mobilizing evidence supporting these propositions, the chapter
concludes with a few modest recommendations that seem congruent with the argument
developed here.
Fear of Crime Abstracts
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