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Does Religious Involvement Generate or Inhibit Fear of Crime?
Department of Sociology, University of West Georgia, 1601 Maple Street, Carrollton, GA 30118, USA
Department of Criminology, University of West Georgia, 1601 Maple Street, Carrollton, GA 30118, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 June 2011; in revised form: 11 September 2011 / Accepted: 23 September 2011 / Published: 27 September 2011
Abstract: In victimology, fear of crime is understood as an emotional response to the perceived threat of crime. Fear of crime has been found to be affected by several variables besides local crime rates and personal experiences with victimization. This study examines the relationship between religion and fear of crime, an underexplored topic in the criminological literature. This gap is rather surprising given the central role religion has been found to play in shaping the attitudes and perceptions of congregants. In particular, religion has been found to foster generalized trust, which should engender lower levels of distrust or misanthropy, including that which is directed towards a general fear of crime. OLS regression was performed using data from the West Georgia Area Survey (n = 380). Controlling for demographic, community involvement, and political ideology variables, frequency of religious attendance was significantly and negatively associated with fear of property crime. This relationship remained even after a perceived neighborhood safety variable was introduced to the model. However, religious attendance was not significantly related to fear of violent crime, and religious orientation was unrelated to fear of property and violent crime. These results suggest that religious involvement conditionally reduces fear of crime, and the authors recommend that future research explore relationships between religion and fear of crime.
Keywords: fear of crime; religious orientation; religious attendance; survey
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Cite This Article
MDPI and ACS Style
Matthews, T.; Johnson, L.M.; Jenks, C. Does Religious Involvement Generate or Inhibit Fear of Crime? Religions 2011, 2, 485-503.
Matthews T, Johnson LM, Jenks C. Does Religious Involvement Generate or Inhibit Fear of Crime? Religions. 2011; 2(4):485-503.
Matthews, Todd; Johnson, Lee Michael; Jenks, Catherine. 2011. "Does Religious Involvement Generate or Inhibit Fear of Crime?" Religions 2, no. 4: 485-503.