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Keeping trouble at a safe distance

Unravelling the significance of ‘the fear of crime’

Keeping trouble at a safe distance
  • Year of publication 2017
  • 240 pages
Author:Remco Spithoven
Category: Criminology General
Icon_printbook 978‐94‐6236‐783‐8 | paperback | 1st edition | € 48.00 / $ 60.75 / £ 47.70
Icon_ebook 978‐94‐6274‐754‐8 | ebook | € 45.00 / $ 60.75 / £ 47.70

The fear of crime is generally recognized as a social problem around the world. Yet, research has so far lacked to establish a reliable picture of this phenomenon. The present study examines the highly complex allocation of interacting perceptions, for which it provides suitable explanations through a social psychological approach. It aims to discover at what level of psychological distance citizens primarily experience 'the fear of crime' and how they construct it.

The author applies various qualitative and quantitative techniques to conduct this research. For instance, historical discourse analysis, free associative interviewing, photo sorting via Q-methodology, and Structural Equation Modelling. The results show that citizens are determined to keep crime at a safe distance. Even to those who deem that crime is a significant factor in their immediate surroundings, 'the fear of crime' remains a distant and abstract social problem.

Target group

Keeping trouble at a safe distance relates to the broad field of the social sciences, especially to the disciplines of criminology, sociology and social psychology.

Author's information

Dr. Remco Spithoven (1985) holds a PhD in social sciences and an MSc. in public administration. He is currently an associate professor of safety and security management studies at the HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, and a research fellow at the Faculty of Social Science, VU University Amsterdam. His research areas cover public opinion, crime, social change, societal pessismism, and research methodology.