The Quality of Life Measured Through the Subjective Indicators of Safety: Fear, Worry About Crime and the Risk of Criminality

  • Alessandra Federici
  • Maria Giuseppina Muratore
  • Daria Squillante
Part of the Social Indicators Research Series book series (SINS, volume 48)


What about the relationship between safety and quality of life? How is it recognisable, how is it perceived and how theorisable and measurable is this relationship? How fear affects individual and social well-being? The Italian Citizens Safety Survey, carried out the last time in 2008 and 2009, allows all these questions to be answered since both subjective and objective aspects of criminality as well as their impact on quality of life are addressed.

The international debate on the role of fear, victimisation and social and environmental decay on well-being and on the several ways to measure fear is very complex and shows the need for a multidisciplinary and multidimensional approach to the “safety perception” phenomenon. Also, data analysis confirms that a unidirectional link between individual victimisation and fear of criminality does not exist: perception of insecurity is also caused by generic anxiety related to individual and social variables, such as age, gender, economic conditions, cultural resources and social networks.

But how do we operationalise concepts like “safety” or “insecurity” and their “perception”? In this perspective, it is important to jointly analyse subjective and objective dimensions, as the perceived or real fear of becoming a victim, the safety perception in public and private spaces and the worry of crimes (Butler G, Mathews A, Adv Behav Res Ther 25:273–280, 1983; Adv Behav Res Ther II(5), 1987). The performed analyses (correspondence analysis, clustering and logistic) raised an interesting and complex framework: from one side, the highlighted panorama is very objective, where fear and worry of crime are strongly related to the suffered victimisation, the social and environmental decay and the foreseen risk of becoming a victim; from the other side, in the absence of concrete risk situations, fear seems to be related to the weakness of social communication and contacts and to the socio-economic and individual vulnerability.

Considering the complexity of this scenario, which includes both subjective and objective components strongly related to quality of life, the definition of synthetic indicators, aimed at studying the impact of safety on quality of life, is needed even though it is not easy to be performed. Further work is required.


Multiple Correspondence Analysis Safe Life Crime Victim Daily Habit Italian Citizen 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alessandra Federici
    • 1
  • Maria Giuseppina Muratore
    • 1
  • Daria Squillante
    • 1
  1. 1.Italian National Institute of StatisticsRomeItaly

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