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Fear, Social Interactions, and Violence Mitigation

NCJ Number
Justice Quarterly Volume: 33 Issue: 3 Dated: April 2016 Pages: 481-509
Date Published
April 2016
29 pages
This study examined whether the fear of crime inhibits involvement in violent encounters, both as offender or victim, and also whether adjustments in routine activities explain these effects.
The fear of crime is generally considered a social ill that undermines dimensions of individual well-being. Prior research generally specifies the fear of crime as an outcome variable in order to understand its complex etiology. More recently, however, researchers have suggested that fear has a deterrence function whereby it reduces individuals' involvement in violent encounters. This notion could hold important clues for understanding the social sources of violence. The results of the current study suggest that fear of crime reduces violence involvement, in part, by constraining routine activities. Thus, the fear of crime appears to be a mechanism of violence mitigation that, paradoxically, bolsters physical well-being. The implications of these findings are discussed regarding their implications for criminological theory and research on interpersonal violence. (Publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: April 1, 2016