After the culture of fear

Fear of crime in the United States half a century on

Authored by: Jonathan Simon

The Routledge International Handbook on Fear of Crime

Print publication date:  December  2017
Online publication date:  December  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138120334
eBook ISBN: 9781315651781
Adobe ISBN:


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Half a century after the war on crime began, the “fear of crime” remains a fixation of social science and public policy. Moreover, surveys (GSS 2016) suggest little change since the mid-1980s in the level of crime fear experienced by Americans in spite of dramatic drops of reported crimes in victimisation surveys since the mid-1990s. Despite this apparent stability in fear of crime, this chapter surveys evidence that this fear, which emerged so forcefully in the political realm beginning in the late 1960s, is undergoing substantial revision. The degree and potential for change is perhaps best reflected by comparing the cultural meanings associated with those environments and contexts that have been productive elements of the fear of crime imaginary (Hall 2016) for Baby Boomers (who were in many respects the main carriers of fear of crime as a cultural complex) and the rising millennial generation.

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