Date of Award

Summer 1996

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Sociology & Criminal Justice


Applied Sociology

Committee Director

Carole L. Seyfrit

Committee Member

Judi Caron-Sheppard

Committee Member

Randy Gainey

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.S62 S57


Using 1996 Survey data collected from residents along Virginia's Eastern Shore, this study addresses fear of crime in rural communities. Most prior research has focused on fear of crime in urban communities or has reported a relatively low fear of crime in rural communities. However, some recent analyses have indicated unusually high fear in small towns experiencing rapid population growth and economic changes. Heightened fear of crime has been observed even where there has been no apparent increase in criminal victimization experiences. This study addresses fear of crime and its relation to perceived risk of victimization, density of acquaintanceship, community origin, length of residence, prior victimization, and a number of control variables. Results indicate that cognitive measures of risk, unfamiliarity with neighbors, and prior criminal victimization influence fear of crime more than do individually attributable variables (i.e., gender, race. and age).


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