An Examination of Responses to Threats of Victimization: Is Fear of Crime the Best Answer?

Nicole Rader, Southern Illinois Univ. at Carbondale

This paper challenges the notion that fear of crime is the only or most likely response to the threat of victimization that an individual may choose. Although past research has widely discussed other potentially influential responses to the threat of victimization (such as perceived risk, constrained behaviors, incivilities, etc.), it typically assumes fear of crime is the dependent variable and any other responses merely causes or impacts fear of crime. This paper argues that there are many responses that an individual may choose from to cope with the potential threat of victimization, among them increases in fear of crime, an assssment of perceived risk, or an engagement in constrained behaviors. When looking at the phenomen in this new light, with fear of crime as only one possible response to the threat of victimization, the relationships between different responses to the threat of victimization may be compared. This comparison may render fear of crime, constrained behaviors, and perceived risk as working together in a reciprocal relationship instead of, as past research has often indicated, a causal one. This paper uses OLS regression nested models with three separate dependent variables to consider these claims. Analysis ane results are explored.

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Updated 05/20/2006