The Relationship Between Dwelling Type and Fear of Crime

Rollwagen, Heather

Rollwagen, H. (2016). The relationship between dwelling type and fear of crime. Environment and Behavior, 48(2), 365-387.

Apartment Buildings , Built Environment , Crime , Fear Of Crime , Housing

Urban sociologists and criminologists have maintained housing’s importance in providing individuals with a sense of security within their neighborhood. Yet it remains unclear whether all types of housing provide this sense of safety in the same way. This article provides an analysis of the relationship between dwelling type and fear of crime. Data from the 2009 Canadian General Social Survey are analyzed. Results suggest that living in a multiunit dwelling has no statistically significant impact on fear of crime in the neighborhood; however, individuals living in high-rise and low-rise residences are less likely to be fearful of crime while at home in the evening. One possible explanation for these findings is the fortress effect: High-rise buildings isolate individuals in physical space, providing security in the home, and creating physical and social distance from the rest of the neighborhood. The implications of these findings are discussed.

Main finding
As predicted by Newman, individuals living in high-rise apartments are more likely to be fearful of neighborhood crime. It appears this relationship only holds for high-rise apartments. between dwelling type and fear of neighborhood crime. However, social ties also have an impact: The odds of feeling fearful in the neighborhood are 2.5 times greater for those who do not know any neighbors compared with those who know many or most of their neighbors.

Description of method used in the article
Survey data

Of practical use

Organising categories

Crime and Aggression Gathering/Socializing
Physical types
Geographic locations