This article is a revised version of a paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Criminology, Boston, November 18, 1995. We would like to thank Sarah Eschholtz, Sally Gertz, Gary Kleck, Mike Lynch, Glenda Rabby, Jeff Snipes, Gordon Waldo, and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.
RACIAL COMPOSITION OF NEIGHBORHOOD AND FEAR OF CRIME*
Article first published online: 7 MAR 2006
Volume 35, Issue 1, pages 107–132, February 1997
How to Cite
CHIRICOS, T., HOGAN, M. and GERTZ, M. (1997), RACIAL COMPOSITION OF NEIGHBORHOOD AND FEAR OF CRIME. Criminology, 35: 107–132. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.1997.tb00872.x
- Issue published online: 7 MAR 2006
- Article first published online: 7 MAR 2006
A relationship between fear of crime and the racial composition of place has been widely assumed but seldom tested. Interviews conducted with a random sample of adults residing in a major state capital in the early months of 1994-at the height of a media-driven panic about violent crime-are used to test the proposition that as the percentage of blacks in one's neighborhood increases, so too will the fear of crime. We use objective and perceptual measures of racial composition, and we examine the effects of racial composition and minority status on fear of crime for black and white respondents. We distinguish between perceived safety or risk of victimization and fear, with the former used as an intervening variable in path models of fear of crime. Results show that actual racial composition has no consequence for the fear of crime when other relevant factors are controlled. Perceived racial composition is significant for fear among whites, but not among African-Americans. In particular, the perception that one is in the racial minority in one's neighborhood elevates fear among whites but not among blacks. All effects of perceived racial composition on fear are indirect and mediated by the perception of risk of crime.