Role of Fear of Crime in Community Participation

Sarah Eschholz, Georgia State University
David M. Van Slyke, Georgia State University

While hundreds of articles have explored fear of crime as a dependent variable, only a handful of studies have begun to include measures of fear in models that predict political participation, punitive attitudes, attitudes toward the police and community participation. In contrast, much of the theoretical work dealing with fear of crime focuses on the possible social control function that fear plays in shaping both individual behavior and public policy. To test these possibilities, it is necessary to examine the consequences of fear of crime. Using a random telephone survey of 2,545 individuals living in the 22 counties that compose the greater Metro Atlanta area we explore fear of crime, both as a dependent variable using basic demographics and county level contextual variables from the 2000 census (percentage black, percentage poverty, etc...) and fear of crime as an independent variable in models of community participation.

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Updated 05/20/2006