A Longitudinal Study of Fear of Crime in a Canadian City

Kristin Clarke, University of Winnipeg
Michael Weinrath, University of Winnipeg

This study compared fear of crime perceptions between the years 1984 and 1994 in the Canadian city of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Our project also examined whether any differences in reported fear were correlated with Winnipeg official crime rates. Fear data came from urban surveys conducted in 1984 and 1994, and involved 1,383 respondents. Police reported crime rates were obtained from Uniform Crime Reports. The data showed no differences from 1984 to 1994 in reported general fear rates, assessed by asking how safe individuals felt walking alone in their neighbourhoods at night. There were, however, substantive and significant differences found for offense-specific fear indicators that asked respondents to assess worry about burglary, armed theft, coat being stolen, being cheated and sexual assault. All of the five offense- specific fear indicators showed increases from 1984 to 1994. Increases in fear were found to be most closely related to the violent crime rate, but not property or other categories. Implications of study findings and recommend areas for future research are discussed.

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Updated 05/20/2006