Fear of Crime
Fear of Crime in members of our society today has been widely researched. For the purpose of this essay, fear of crime is used in the context of an individual’s perceived risk of becoming a victim of crime. In this essay it is argued that the elderly and the youngest members of our society are the most fearful of crime and that, of these age groups the elderly have the lowest risk of becoming victims of crime. Firstly, research shows that fear of crime is wide spread and that certain age groups are more fearful of becoming victims than others. Secondly, that the Media’s portrayal of crimes contributes to society’s perceptions of safety and crime itself, increasing fear of crime in these age groups. Thirdly, that the Elderly
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A key concept used to explain high levels of perceived risk of victimisation is that of vulnerability. Powell & Wahidin (2007, p.94) assert “the fear of crime operates on a myriad of emotional and practical levels from feeling vulnerable and isolated, to affecting personal well – being”. Vulnerability has been attributed to contributing to fear of crime within the elderly age group (Carcach et al, 2001). It has been argued that ‘personal vulnerability’ (Franklin, Franklin & Fearn, 2008 p.206), the inability for an individual to protect themselves due to lack of physical strength (James, 1992) and the feelings of “powerlessness to resist attack’ (Callanan & Teasdale, 2009 p. 362) and their worry of being able to heal from an act of victimisation (Johnson, 2005 p.33) explains the disparity between higher levels of fear and that of actual victimisation. Cossman & Rader (2011, p.143) add further to this that most elderly people are now living alone, either having lost a lifetime partner through death, or hospitalisation due to frailty or illness also attributes to higher levels of fear of crime.
A workshop held between several services and organisations in South Australia on Crime and the Elderly identified that