Fear 2.0

Worry about cybercrime in England and Wales

Authored by: Ian Brunton-Smith

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:

10.4324/9781315651781-8

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Abstract

Much has been written about the fear of crime, and there now exists a considerable body of evidence about the causes and consequences of increased levels of fear amongst particular groups. Yet one area that has received comparatively little attention is fear of cybercrime (Henson and Reyns 2015). This is a surprising omission, with recent evidence suggesting that a substantial proportion of the population may be a victim of online crime each year, and as many as 120,000 new phishing websites appearing each month (APWG 2016). The rapid growth of smart-phone and other handheld computer technology is providing users with almost uninterrupted access to online spaces, and at the same time people are sharing more and more personal information online, placing them at increasing risk of online victimisation. The constantly evolving landscape of cyberspace also represents an increasingly uncertain social space for users, with the possibility that these anxieties will also translate into higher levels of fear of crime. This chapter provides one of the first in depth analyses of fear of cybercrime, using data from a nationally representative survey to identify those individuals that are most fearful, as well as the key drivers of this fear. The link between fear of online and offline crimes is also examined, to determine the extent that people transfer their offline anxieties into the online sphere, or whether fear of cybercrime stands alone.

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