Foster, S., Knuiman, M., Wood, L., & Giles-Corti, B.
Foster, S., Knuiman, M., Wood, L., & Giles-Corti, B. (2013). Suburban neighbourhood design: Associations with fear of crime versus perceived crime risk. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 36, 112–117. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvp.2013.07.015
Strategies that reduce fear of crime may contribute to improved health outcomes; however interventions require a better understanding of the neighbourhood correlates of both emotional responses to crime (i.e., fear of crime) and cognitive assessments of crime (i.e., perceived crime risk). This study explored the association between objective measures of suburban design and two safety outcomes: perceived crime risk and fear of crime, for participants who lived in new suburban housing developments in Perth, Western Australia. The characteristics of a walkable neighbourhood, particularly retail land, were associated with less fear of crime, but greater perceived crime risk. One interpretation is that ‘strangers’, attracted to the neighbourhood by diverse land-uses, might influence the emotional and cognitive as- pects of ‘fear of crime’ differently. Researchers interested in the impact of the built environment on ‘fear of crime’, and any subsequent influence of these perceptions on health, should be mindful that the environment appears to impact these constructs differently.
There are many studies that look at the relationship between perceptions of crime and neighborhood characteristics. In this study, however, authors attempt to create a distinction between emotional responses to crime (i.e., fear of crime) and assessments of the likelihood of crime (i.e., perceived crime risk). Findings indicate that walkable neighborhoods and retail land use areas are associated with higher perceived crime risk, but less fear of crime, whereas mixed use neighborhoods are reported as feeling safer (i.e., less fear of crime) while being less safe (i.e., greater perceived crime risk).
Description of method used in the article
Survey of residents (N = 1,195) who had lived in their homes for approximately 36 months in suburban Perth, Western Australia. DVs relate to perceived crime risk and fear of crime (via a modified Neighborhood Environment Walkability Scale), and related to IVs drawn from the Neighborhood Form Index (e.g., dedicated neighborhood land to various uses, street connectivity, density).
Of some practical use if combined with other research