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Oregon Serious Crime Survey: Attitudes About Crime

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 1989
A sample of over 1000 respondents, representative of the population of Oregon 15 years or older, answered a survey describing their attitudes about crime and their perceived risk of future victimization.

Previous research, which found that while some crime victims remain fearful of future victimization and others were not afraid despite their earlier experiences, indicates that other factors influence fear of crime. Most respondents (68 percent) do not fear personal victimization during the coming year, but those who were victimized during the past 12 months were twice as likely to fear future victimization. Victims, who often perceive crime rates to be rising even if they are not, report more victimization among their friends and relatives than do non-victims. More than half the respondents believe that drugs are readily available in their community, and drugs were listed most frequently as a serious community problems. Often, the relationship between level of fear and victimization risk is inverse; personal and second-hand sources of information affect attitudes about crime and victimization risk. Evidence shows that strategies to reduce the fear of crime, such as increased foot patrol and officer participation with citizen groups, may enhance a community's quality of life and may also actually reduce crime. Program evaluations must employ separate outcome measures to assess the impact on crime and the impact on fear of crime. 1 figure, 5 tables.

Date Published: April 1, 1989