Title page for ETD etd-0704103-080530

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Bedenbaugh, Cheryl Papa
URN etd-0704103-080530
Title Measuring Fear of Crime on Campus: A Study of an Urban University
Degree Master of Arts (M.A.)
Department Sociology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
William B. Bankston Committee Chair
Edward Shihadeh Committee Member
Nicholas Pedriana Committee Member
  • perceived risk of crime
  • fear of crime
  • campus crime
  • crime on campus
Date of Defense 2003-06-11
Availability unrestricted
Since 1990, five federal laws and many state laws have been created to increase security on university campuses (Security on Campus 2000). These laws, which include provisions that require university police and administrations to accurately and openly report the school's crime statistics (Hudge 2000), have fueled an increased focus about crime committed on university campuses. The philosophy behind the open reporting laws is twofold: parents and students have the information necessary to help them make the best decisions on which college to attend, and students are armed with information so they can take necessary precautions to enhance their level of safety on campus (Bedenbaugh 1998:22). With an increased focus on campus crime and the requirement that universities report their crime statistics, it is important to pay attention to whether students are afraid of being victimized on campus. Knowing students' level of fear can help universities as they develop security measures and crime awareness campaigns.

Although research has been conducted about crime on university campuses, more emphasis should be placed on the causes of students' fear of being victimized while on campus. Warr and Stafford (1983:1040) studied the proximate causes of fear of crime and stated that their research is a "crude preliminary step toward understanding the proximate causes of fear of victimization..." They further stated that "a number of crucial questions remain unanswered," including whether the effects of perceived risk and seriousness are the same for various categories of the population. Although studies have been done on fear of campus crime, my study provides a comprehensive exploration of how demographic variables, routine activities, prior experience with victimization and perceived seriousness of crimes influence students perceived risk of being victimized, which affects their fear of being victimized on campus.

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