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Social Order and the Fear of Crime in Contemporary Times$
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Stephen D. Farrall, Jonathan Jackson, and Emily Gray

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199540815

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199540815.001.0001

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What is the Fear of Crime? A Rhetorical Question with No One Clear Answer

What is the Fear of Crime? A Rhetorical Question with No One Clear Answer

Chapter:
(p.45) 3 What is the Fear of Crime? A Rhetorical Question with No One Clear Answer
Source:
Social Order and the Fear of Crime in Contemporary Times
Author(s):

Stephen Farrall

Jonathan Jackson

Emily Gray

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199540815.003.0003

This chapter presents arguments — supported by empirical data — which underpin a number of claims in this chapter. These revolve around the design and interpretation of survey questions, the frequency with which basic human emotions (such as fear) are encountered, and the nature of the fear of crime when it comes visiting. This chapter suggests that fear is an infrequent emotion in response to crime, and there is, unsurprisingly, an enormous complexity and diversity of human emotion in general and about crime in particular. This chapter further elaborates that while it may be difficult to produce precise evidence about the frequency or intensity of fear of crime, there is considerable room for methodological improvement in order to capture important detail and describe the significant characteristics of these responses. The chapter concludes that more work needs to be done if one has to tease out the reality of this social phenomenon and such empirical study promises to produce more valid and reliable research tools that will facilitate more theoretically sophisticated modes of explanation of this important social and political issue of the day.

Keywords:   empirical data, fear, crime, emotion, evidence, intensity, empirical study, research tools

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