How useful is vulnerability for the understanding of fear of crime? This study reviews previous vulnerability approaches in fear of crime research, employs a more rigorous temporal perspective and distinguishes more precisely between individuals and their contexts.
Status of project: Completed Department: Criminology Project duration: Project start: 2014
Project end: 2018
This PhD project investigates the usefulness of vulnerability to explain fear of crime, building on previous vulnerability approaches, following a more rigorous temporal perspective and distinguishing more precisely between persons and their contexts. The longitudinal perspective provides more reliable support for the vulnerability approach than previous cross-sectional studies because unobserved heterogeneity is reduced. The analyses separate between-person diﬀerences from within-person changes, demonstrating that most vulnerability factors (e.g., personality traits, ﬁnancial strain, supportive networks) are related to fear of crime. Vulnerability links persons and environments, indicating interactive relations between individual vulnerability factors and external stressors (neighborhood characteristics and victimization).
In addition, the impact of adverse (early) life events on fear of crime is investigated. An examination of neighborhood characteristics and their spatial lags shows that social disadvantage in the (adjacent) neighborhood has a strong contextual inﬂuence on fear of crime.
This PhD project is based on two waves of survey data from the project “Crime, disorder, and social capital in urban neighborhoods” (head of project: Prof. Dietrich Oberwittler).