Fear of crime is a social problem with potentially serious consequences, including altering or restricting one’s behaviour. Changes to one’s routine for this purpose are known as constrained behaviours. Although gender stands out as a particularly strong indicator of fear, an abundance of literature – primarily based in the United States – explores its causes. Demographic factors, a history of victimization, social ties, perceived disorder, and neighbourhood structural factors all play a role. The focus of this research is to determine the extent to which these theoretical approaches explain perceived risk and constrained behaviours in Canada. This study uses data from the General Social Survey and the Census and employs a multilevel analytic approach. The results suggest that factors which affect an individual’s perception of risk differ from those that affect constrained behaviours. The results also indicate that neighbourhood context is an important factor in understanding the dynamics of fear of crime.
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Thesis advisor: Davies, Garth
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