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Fear of Crime in the Swedish Daily PressDescriptions of an Increasingly Unsafe Society

NCJ Number
Journal of Scandinavian Studies in Criminology and Crime Prevention Volume: 12 Issue: 1 Dated: 2011 Pages: 63-79
Anita Heber
Date Published
17 pages
This article examines fear of crime described increasingly often in the press in Sweden.
Fear of crime is a subject that is described increasingly often in the daily press. In spite of this, very few studies have examined how the press describes fear of crime. This article focuses on how fear of crime is presented, in what context, and who is labeled as fearful in the Swedish daily press. The theoretical frameworks are theories about the risk society and how fear of crime can be understood in a society characterized by risk, uncertainty, and worry. The current study analyses articles from four national daily newspapers employing a qualitative, thematic content analysis. In the analysis, four principal themes were distinguished: fear of crime defined, fear of crime personified, fear of crime situationalized, and fear of crime contextualized. The articles examined describe an increasingly unsafe society characterized by rising crime, particularly in the suburbs, which is producing fear among women and children. Male police officers are also described as being afraid and as no longer being able to protect the public. The daily press establishes clearly who should be afraid of crime, which crimes produce fear, and where and why people are afraid. The articles formulate special ways of describing fear of crime, in which fear appears as a natural and expected reaction to life in an increasingly unsafe and violent society. (Published Abstract)