Crime Prevention and Community Safety

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 124–140 | Cite as

Individual and community predictors of fear of criminal victimization: Results from a national sample of urban US citizens

  • Elizabeth J Dansie
  • Jamison D Fargo
Original Article


The present study investigated the validity of the construct of fear of criminal victimization, and identified factors associated with fear and crime prevention behaviors using a nationally representative sample from 12 US cities. Confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling analyses indicated that along with individual-level characteristics, three latent constructs were predictive of fear and preventive behaviors, including: law enforcement, neighborhood environment and neighborhood crime. Specifically, knowledge of negative characteristics of the neighborhood environment and neighborhood crime were related to increased fear, whereas increased law enforcement activities were predictive of less fear. Additionally, knowledge of law enforcement activities and greater neighborhood crime lead to more preventive efforts, whereas knowledge of negative neighborhood characteristics lead to decreased preventive efforts. These findings provide empirical support for the multidimensionality of fear of criminal victimization, indicating that reformative efforts should be directed toward all three constructs in order to curtail fear.


fear victimization prevention prediction criminal 



The data used in this publication were made available by the United States Department of Justice: Bureau of Justice Statistics, Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR 2743) located in Ann Arbor, MI. The study entitled Criminal Victimization and Perceptions of Community Safety in 12 Cities, 1998, was conducted by Steven K. Smith, Greg W. Steadman, and Todd D. Minton of the Bureau of Justice Statistics, and Meg Townsend, formerly of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. The original investigators, ICPSR, and the funding agency bear no responsibility for uses of this collection of data or for interpretations or inferences based upon such uses. Direct correspondence regarding this manuscript should be sent to Jamison D. Fargo, PhD at E-mail:


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Utah State University, LoganUtahUSA

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