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

Irene Carvalho, Dan A. Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 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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