Physical upkeep, perceived upkeep, fear of crime and neighborhood satisfaction

Hur, M., & Nasar, J. L.

Go to article

Hur, M., & Nasar, J. L. (2014). Physical upkeep, perceived upkeep, fear of crime and neighborhood satisfaction. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 38, 186–194.

Actual , Neighborhood Satisfaction , Perceived Upkeep , Safety From Crime , Structural Equation Model

Residents in a neighborhood view physical disorders as a potential incubator for negative incidents. Even though the disorders may not directly bring serious crime to the neighborhood, the poor physical conditions may affect residents in other ways, including increases in perceived physical disorder and fear of crime and decreases in neighborhood satisfaction. Focusing on the effects of physical disorder, this study examined the underlying associations between the actual upkeep, perceived upkeep, and neighborhood satisfaction using a structural equation model. The findings confirmed interrelationships be- tween factors; confirmed that as some categories of actual upkeep improved, perceived upkeep and neighborhood satisfaction improved; confirmed that as perceived upkeep improved, perceived safety from crime and neighborhood satisfaction improved; and confirmed that as perceived safety from crime improved, neighborhood satisfaction improved. The structural equation model showed that actual physical upkeep factors each had indirect effects on perceived upkeep, safety from crime, and neighborhood satisfaction.

Main finding
This study compares (a) survey responses from residents about their perceptions of their neighborhood against (b) neighborhood observations recorded by researchers. Collecting data in this fashion allows for an analysis of associations between actual upkeep, perceived upkeep, and other elements of neighborhood satisfaction. Generally, results confirm correlations between perceived and observable characteristics. Specifically, the presence of semi-fixed (as opposed to movable or fixed) observed indicators of poor neighborhood upkeep is directly related to participants' negative perceptions of neighborhood physical upkeep. In contrast, higher perceived neighborhood upkeep is associated with higher (a) perceived safety from crime and (b) neighborhood satisfaction.

Description of method used in the article
Residents (N = 299) completed an online survey that included items related to perceptions of their neighborhood as related to naturalness, openness, housing, land use, density, neighborhood features, satisfaction, etc. For each participant, researchers mapped a 1/4 mile buffer on the road network from the nearest intersection to each participant's home. In that buffer, they conducted audits to count evidence of poor upkeep across three categories: fixed, semi-fixed, and movable. A structural equation model (SEM) is used to analyze the relationship between actual upkeep, perceived upkeep, satisfaction, and fear of crime. The research team conducted audits on 2020 blocks across 321 neighborhoods.

Of some practical use if combined with other research

Organising categories

Crime and Aggression
3D / Digital / Datasets Field Observations Survey
Urban Planning
Physical types
Geographic locations