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How Scared Are We?

NCJ Number
British Journal of Criminology Volume: 48 Issue: 2 Dated: March 2008 Pages: 209-225
Sandra Walklate; Gabe Mythen
Date Published
March 2008
17 pages
A historical overview is provided of criminological uses of the concept of fear in relation to crime and criminal victimization.
It is argued that fear of crime research has traveled a long way down a narrow path. If there is no change and widening of the path, it is essential that alternative avenues of inquiry are opened up. The criminological concern with the fear of crime is largely a result of an unreflective embrace of risk, a persistent assumption of what kind of crime there is to be feared and who might commit those crimes. With that said, rethinking the conceptual relationship between risk and fear presumed in the fear-of-crime debate might be one place to start. A more holistic approach to fear is recommended, involving decentring crime and focusing on the interplay between local fears and global vistas of fear. This paper traces the developments of the ‘fear of crime’ debate, identifies its strengths and weaknesses, and considers the extent to which historical and current discussions of it are able to adequately reflect the contemporary inadequacies of the fear-of-crime debate. References