Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



The extant literature on fear of crime has relied almost entirely upon quantitative data and was criticized as atheoretical due to its focus on the demographic characteristics associated with vulnerability. Emerging qualitative research on fear of crime has begun to overcome this limitation by drawing upon an intersectional lens, but quantitative assessments have yet to fully incorporate this theoretical development. The current study addresses this limitation by analyzing qualitative data collected through semi-structured interviews and quantitative data collected as part of a large-scale survey. The primary goal of this dissertation is to take an intersectional approach to understand the relationships between gender, race, class, as well as other social identities in relation to fear in order to develop a more meaningful explanation of fear of crime, examine who and what is feared, and where and when people are most fearful of crime in addition to the reasons why. The qualitative component of the data analysis fosters a deeper understanding of how African American residents living in a high crime southern city cope, construct and react to fear of crime and how many social structures work simultaneously to generate fear. The key findings of this portion of the dissertation indicate that the overwhelming majority of residents do not report feeling afraid. Instead, both men and women use mental maps of specific spaces and people in those spaces to identify some areas as dangers and others as safe. Additionally religion linked with intersecting individual factors, played an enormous role in residents’ fear of crime responses. The quantitative component of the analyses assesses many of the same issues as the qualitative chapter, but at a broader level. The data set analyzed in this chapter was collected as part of the annual Baton Rouge Social Survey (BRSS). The key findings of these analyses reveal that examining two and three way interactions of individual characteristics provides a better explanation of those who are actually afraid of crime and of those who are not. Together this mixed methods approach reveals that not all individuals with characteristics associated with higher fear of crime are actually afraid of crime.



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Committee Chair

Barton, Michael



Included in

Sociology Commons