Journal of Social Research & Policy,
Volume: 5, Issue: 2, pp. 103-116
Date: December 2014
ISSN: 2067-2640 (print), 2068-9861 (electronic)
Abstract: The present comparative study tries to identify individual-level factors most likely to influence perceptions of safety in two Baltic States that according to recent Eurostat data continue to have the highest rates of lethal violence in the European Union. The analysis is conducted on representative samples of residents in Estonia (N=2380) and Lithuania (N=2109) and uses recent data from the European Social Survey (Round 6/2012). Empirical tests of three theoretical approaches frequently used in fear-of-crime research (i.e., the crime-experience perspective, the vulnerability perspective, and the integrative model of fear of crime) show support for these perspectives in various degrees. Although inter-country differences do exist in terms of prior victimization, perceived safety, and the effect of fear-of-crime correlates, results of the overall sample indicate that residents who feel unsafe in their neighborhoods are more likely to be persons who directly or indirectly experienced victimization, persons who might perceive themselves as being unable to respond properly when facing potential criminals (e.g., females, persons with disabilities, people who live alone, economically-disadvantaged individuals, and ethnic minorities), and residents of large urban areas, where crime is more likely to occur. Conversely, in both countries, persons who are part of social networks and have higher levels of interpersonal trust are also more likely to feel safe in their local areas.
Keywords: Crime; Victimization; Fear of Crime; Perceived Safety; Baltic Countries; Estonia; Lithuania.
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