U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Is Perception Reality?: The Comparison of Citizens' Levels of Fear of Crime Versus Perception of Crime Problems in Communities

NCJ Number
Crime Prevention & Community Safety Volume: 14 Issue: 3 Dated: August 2012 Pages: 196-211
Bonnie Grohe; Michael DeValve; Elizabeth Quinn
Date Published
August 2012
16 pages
This study investigated whether fear of crime in a local community was influenced by the actual level of crime occurring within the community.
This study was initiated at the request of city police department officials to determine if fear of crime is influenced by actual crime occurring within communities. Police officials were interested in understanding community members' perceptions of crime in the locality in order to effectively focus police efforts and services. Findings suggest residents' fear of drug crimes and burglary are in line with levels of actual crime in the city, while low levels of fear of auto-related crimes are not consistent with actual crime in this locality. The fear of crime/risk paradox does not appear to be strongly evident in this locality. Interestingly, men reported higher levels of fear than women. Implications and suggestions for future research are discussed. (Published Abstract)