Beyond community: Reactions to crime and disorder among inner-city residents

Irene Carvalho, Dan A. Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

58 Scopus citations


Research on fear of crime has been primarily quantitative, focused mostly on "fear," "crime," and "disorder." Little work has investigated alternative reactions, including "safety," when crime/disorder are prevalent. With the purpose of exploring reactions to crime and underlying processes, this study applies a grounded theory approach to in-depth interviews and field observations with a group of 69 disadvantaged urban residents, randomly selected from a sample of Chicago welfare recipients. Results suggest that fear, absent in neighborhoods with incivilities and in many violent areas, is not the prevalent response to local crime/disorder; "cues" other than crime/disorder trigger fears; fear may not be of crime/disorder; and neighborhood problems elicit precautions, which neither influence fear nor "paralyze" respondents. The processes underlying these reactions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)779-812
Number of pages34
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2003


  • Crime, Disorder and Incivilities
  • Fear of crime
  • Inner-city residents
  • Urban neighborhoods
  • Welfare recipients

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law

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