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  Old age and fear of crime: cross-national evidence for a decreased impact of neighbourhood disadvantage in older age

Köber, G., Oberwittler, D., & Wickes, R. (2020). Old age and fear of crime: cross-national evidence for a decreased impact of neighbourhood disadvantage in older age. Ageing & Society. doi:10.1017/S0144686X20001683.

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2020-12-21
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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the same Creative Commons licence is included and the original work is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use.
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Köber, Göran, Author
Oberwittler, Dietrich1, 2, Author              
Wickes, Rebecca, Author
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1Criminology, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security and Law, Max Planck Society, ou_3212751              
2Independent Research Group „Space, Contexts, and Crime“, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security and Law, Max Planck Society, ou_3212751              

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 Abstract: Fear of crime among older people has been a frequent topic in ageing research, criminology and urban studies. The ‘environmental docility hypothesis’ assumes that older people are more vulnerable to adverse neighbourhood conditions than younger age groups. Yet, few studies have tested this influential hypothesis using samples of respondents covering the complete adult lifespan. Looking at fear of crime, we investigated the person–environment interaction of age and neighbourhood disadvantage, using two independent surveys comprising 12,620 respondents aged 25–90 years residing in 435 neighbourhoods in four cities in Germany and Australia. We used multi-level analysis and cross-level interactions to model age-differential effects of neighbourhood disadvantage on fear. Contrary to the hypothesis, we found a weakening of neighbourhood effects on fear with age. The strong effect of neighbourhood disadvantage on fear of crime dropped by around half from the youngest (25 years) to the oldest age (90 years) in both countries. Younger people were almost as fearful as older people in the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods, but older people were considerably more fearful than younger ages in better-off neighbourhoods. We found limited empirical support for the assumption that this diminished association between neighbourhood disadvantage and fear can be explained by the stronger neighbourhood attachment of older people. The limitations of the analysis and potential future directions of research are discussed.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2020-12-18
 Publication Status: Published online
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 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1017/S0144686X20001683
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Title: Ageing & Society
Source Genre: Journal
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Pages: - Volume / Issue: - Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 1469-1779