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“Danger lurks around every corner”: Fear of Crime and its Impact on Opportunities for Social Interaction in Stigmatised Australian Suburbs

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Abstract:

This article examines some of the ways in which fear of crime impacts upon opportunities for social interaction among residents in stigmatised suburbs. As we explore in this article, neighbourhoods that are stigmatised by virtue of material disadvantage and poor reputations tend to be associated with a number of social problems, including higher rates of crime. This association with crime, our research suggests, has an impact on social interaction in these neighbourhoods. Specifically, fear of crime may make people less likely to draw on forms of social interaction which enable people to build trust through contact with their fellow residents. In developing this position, the article draws on qualitative data detailing residents' perceptions of safety in three neighbourhoods in Adelaide, South Australia, two of which are stigmatised as ‘problem neighbourhoods'. The article concludes by considering the public policy implications that arise from the research.

Keywords: Fear of crime; public housing; social interaction; stigma; suburbs

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08111470500354216

Affiliations: 1: Flinders University, Department of Public Health, Adelaide, Australia 2: Centre for Planning & Building Studies, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia

Publication date: December 1, 2005

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