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Assessing Age and Gender Differences in Perceived Risk and Fear of Crime

NCJ Number
Criminology Volume: 27 Issue: 4 Dated: (November 1989) Pages: 697-719
R L LaGrange; K F Ferraro
Date Published
23 pages
Telephone interviews with a randomly selected sample of 320 residents of a southeastern metropolitan area of the United States formed the basis of an analysis of the relationships between age and gender and the fear of crime.
The survey took place in the fall of 1987 in the evenings. The participants ranged from 18 to 86 years old. Sixty percent were women and 86 percent were white. The analysis used a National Crime Survey (NCS) measure of fear of crime and 11 alternative measures of fear of specific offenses. Results showed that women reported significantly greater perceived risk and fear of crime than men, regardless of how fear of crime was measured. In addition, older adults reported the greatest fear of crime when the NCS measure was used, but not when alternative measures were used. The use of confirmatory factor analysis to measure fear of property crime and fear of personal crime also indicated that older adults do not have higher levels of fear of crime than others. Findings indicated that measurement problems have resulted in overestimates of the extent of fear in the daily lives of most older persons. Footnotes, tables, appended study instrument, and 38 references.