A longitudinal study of fear of crime in Winnipeg

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Clarke, Kristin Rachelle
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This thesis attempts to answer the questions of whether or not Winnipeg residents have become more or less fearful of crime over time and whether changes in fear levels are related to changes in official crime rates. It also attempts to answer the question of whether certain individuals (women, minority and elderly) experience heightened levels of fear. Four fear of crime theories; the risk interpretation model, the indirect victimization model, the vulnerability model and the multiple jeopardy hypothesis are tested using Winnipeg Police official crime data, and 1984, 1994, and 2004 Winnipeg Area Study survey results. Relationships between fear of crime and official crime rates are explored using a multiple comparison technique while multiple regression techniques were used to estimate the effects of demographic variables on fear of crime. Contrary to the risk interpretation and indirect victimization models, results indicate that generally, mean fear levels over the twenty year time span are low, and there are no consistent associations between fear levels and official crime over the twenty year time span. Fear of crime levels increased from 1984 to 1994 then decreased from 1994 to 2004. Women, visible minorities, the less educated and married individuals expressed higher levels of fear, while the elderly expressed lower levels of fear. Higher levels of fear were expressed by females, particularly when other indicators of vulnerability were added to the regression models. These findings lend partial support to the vulnerability model and multiple jeopardy hypothesis.