Women's Fear of Victimization and Crime: Fallacies, Paradoxes, Effects, and Responses

Prof. Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris
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Fear of victimization and crime are important concerns of women in cities and affect their propensity to engage in activities that take place in public environments. Although differences among women exist because of age, race, class, cultural and educational background, sexual orientation, and disability status, as well as personal characteristics such as personality trails and sense of physical competence, women typically report higher levels of fear than men. Women’s fear is particularly associated with specific environmental conditions and settings.

The paper gives an overview of women’s fear of crime in public spaces. Following a discussion of a series of facts and fallacies about women’s fear, the paper reviews the outcomes of fear on women’s behavior and travel patterns. Empirical findings are reported from two surveys of a hundred and sixty women at four neighborhood parks and one hundred women waiting at downtown bus stops in Los Angeles, California. These findings are contrasted to findings from surveys of men at the same settings. The last part of the paper focuses on design and policy responses to women’s fear of victimization, analyzing the interrelationship between environment and crime, and suggesting design and planning strategies (including crime prevention through environmental design) for safer public spaces.

Keywords: Women's Fear, Victimization, Public Places
Stream: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Gender
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Prof. Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris

Professor and Chair, Department of Urban Planning, UCLA
Los Angeles, California, USA

Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris is chair of the UCLA Department of Urban Planning. Her research focuses on the public environment of the city, its physical representation, aesthetics, meaning and impact on residents. Her work seeks to integrate socio-physical issues in urban planning and architecture. An underlying theme of her work is its "user focus" as she seeks to analyze the built environment from the perspective of those who live and work there. Her research includes documentation of the socio-physical changes that have occurred in the public realm as a result of privatization and corporatism; revitalization of inner city areas; cultural determinants of design, gender issues in crime prevention and their implications for design and policy. She has served as a consultant to the Transportation Research Board, Federal Highway Administration, Southern California Association of Governments, South Bay Cities Council of Government, Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiative, Roger Wood Johnson Foundation, the Greek government, and many municipal governments on issues of urban design, open space development, land use and transportation. She is the author of numerous articles, the co-author of the book Urban Design Downtown: Poetics and Politics of Form, and the co-editor of the forthcoming book Jobs and Economic Development in Minority Communities.

Ref: I06P0091