Examining impacts of street characteristics on residents' fear of crime: Evidence from a longitudinal study of crime hot spots

Kiseong Kuen*, David Weisburd, Clair White, Joshua C. Hinkle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: Microgeographic approaches have received little attention in fear of crime research. Based on growing evidence of large street-to-street variation in crime, disorder, and social integration factors, all of which are known to affect fear, even within the same community, this study aims to examine how street characteristics affect residents' fear of crime. Method: Taking advantage of unique longitudinal data that include surveys, physical observations, systematic social observations, and official crime statistics on 447 street segments in Baltimore, MD, this study used three-level multilevel analyses to examine the impacts of street characteristics on residents' fear while controlling for individual- and community-level covariates. Results: The results indicate that street-level social disorder and crime, rather than physical disorder, increase residents' fear of crime. In contrast, street-level social integration factors do not have direct impacts on fear, but concentrated disadvantage and low collective efficacy at the street-level might indirectly increase fear via higher levels of social disorder or crime. Conclusions: Street-level interventions focusing on crime and social disorder, rather than physical disorder, can be effective in reducing residents' fear of crime. In turn, we encourage future research on fear of crime to give more attention to microgeographic approaches to better understand contextual predictors.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number101984
JournalJournal of Criminal Justice
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2022

Bibliographical note

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© 2022 Elsevier Ltd


  • Crime hot spots
  • Crime model
  • Disorder model
  • Fear of crime
  • Microgeographic places
  • Social integration model


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