Age of hope or anxiety?: dynamics of the fear of crime in South Africa

OUTPUT TYPE: Policy briefs
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2008
TITLE AUTHOR(S): B.Roberts
KEYWORDS: FEAR OF CRIME, PUBLIC OPINION, SOUTH AFRICAN SOCIAL ATTITUDES SURVEY (SASAS)
DEPARTMENT: Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery (DGSD)
Intranet: HSRC Library: shelf number 6559

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Abstract

The fear of crime has a negative impact on quality of life at the individual, community and societal levels. This phenomenon, which tends to rely on racial stereotypes, has the effect of reducing the sense of trust and cohesion within communities, limiting people's mobility and hastening retreat from public spaces. This Policy Brief shows that the scope of fear extends beyond a specific minority of the population and that urban, informal settlement dwellers are the most concerned about crime. These insecurities, however, have not tempered the resolute optimism about South Africa's prospects. The brief recommends that reducing the fear of crime should be recognised as a priority alongside that of reducing crime itself.