Worry about victimization, crime information processing, and social categorization biases.
Ioanna Gouseti (2018)
This study explores associations between worry about victimization, crime information processing, and social categorization biases. Its results speak to the public communication of the crime‐risk.
The study tests hypotheses that draw on the construal‐level theory of psychological distance and the uncertainty‐identity theory. Through an online experiment that was conducted in 2015 on Amazon Mechanical Turk (N = 312), three experimental groups were exposed to different modes of crime information processing and were then asked about their worry about victimization and attitudes to social categorization.
The results suggest that passive engagement with information about real crimes, that is only reading about them, is more likely to decrease levels of worry about victimization compared to engaging with such information actively, that is by thinking about causes or consequences of crime. It is also found that worry about victimization is significantly related to social categorization biases, namely in‐group identification, outgroup derogation, and racist attitudes.
The mode of crime information processing (active vs. passive) appears to be a strong ‘predictor’ of worry about victimization. In turn, worry about victimization is related to social categorization biases that damage collective well‐being. These findings can feed into evidence‐based strategies for the public communication of crime that keep people informed but free from fear.
A construal-level approach to the fear of crime.
Ioanna Gouseti (2018)
Most people do not experience crime directly as victims in their daily lives. Yet, people are capable of experiencing and expressing reactions to the distal risk of victimisation, such as fear of crime. How do people transcend their crime-free ‘here and now’ in order to experience and express fear of crime? Drawing on the construal-level theory of psychological distance (CLT), the current approach to the fear of crime explores the cognitive processes that render the transcending of the crime-free ‘here and now’ feasible, namely psychological distance from crime and mental representations of crime. It is suggested that experiencing crime as a psychologically distant (vs. psychologically proximal) event, and mentally representing crime abstractly (vs. concretely) are related to lower levels of fear of crime.
This chapter explores the applicability of the CLT in the fear of crime, aiming to enhance the theorisation of the phenomenon. It also presents the first empirical evidence that appear to support the key hypotheses of a CLT approach to the fear of crime. Its theoretical, methodological, and policy implications are also discussed.
Implications of police occupational culture in discriminatory experiences of senior women in police forces in England and Wales.
Jennifer Brown, Jenny Fleming, Marisa Silvestri, Ioanna Gouseti (2018)
Perceptions of police occupational culture were measured in a sample of senior women in policing (N = 169) through an online survey conducted late 2017/early 2018 to explore the occurrence of sexual harassment and sex discrimination. Negative aspects of ‘cop’ culture are associated with greater rates of harassing and discriminatory experiences. Social Identity Theory (SIT) examined the salience of role, gender and seniority as factors relevant to those experiences. Conclusions discuss implications for reform and cultural change.
Sexual harassment experienced by police staff serving in England, Wales and Scotland: A descriptive exploration of incidence, antecedents and harm.
Jennifer Brown, Ioanna Gouseti, Chris Fife-Schaw (2017)
An online survey (N = 1,776) was conducted with support staff to explore the type and incidence of sexual harassment within the police working environment and the explanatory value of known antecedent factors. Univariate results indicated that the highest levels of sexual harassment were associated with sexual banter, reported by three quarters of those surveyed, and diminishing levels of exposure to more serious types of harassment.
Multivariate analyses showed statistically significant associations between levels of exposure and organisational variables but few demographic factors. Having established a better understanding of salient risk factors, the discussion identifies implications for organisational preventative interventions.
Fear of crime as a way of thinking, feeling and acting: an integrated approach to measurement and a theoretical examination of psychological distance and risk construal.
Ioanna Gouseti (2016)
This thesis constitutes a criminological study of the fear of crime as a public reaction to crime and victimization. Its key objectives are to enhance the theorization of the fear of crime, and to develop an integrated methodological approach to its empirical exploration. To achieve the former, the construal-level theory of psychological distance (CLT) is applied to the study of the fear of crime. To achieve the latter, observational and experimental methodologies are combined to evaluate empirically the research hypotheses.
The starting premise of the CLT approach to the fear of crime is that people do not often experience crime directly in their daily lives as victims; yet, they are capable of expressing reactions to the risk of crime. The current thesis explores cognitive processes that help transcend the ‘crime-free’ ‘here and now’ to enable experience and expression of fear of crime reactions to the distal event of crime.
Based on the CLT, two such processes are examined. First, psychological distance from crime, which relates to how far in time, space, social distance and probability, crime is psychologically experienced to occur. Second, crime construal, which relates to the abstractness or concreteness of mental representations of crime. Overall, the findings indicate that experiencing crime as psychologically distant, and mentally representing it abstractly rather than concretely ‘cool off’ fear of crime reactions.
One of the main theoretical implications of the current work is that adopting a theory-driven interdisciplinary perspective in the study of the fear of crime improves its theorization. The key methodological implication is that such a perspective renders plausible the use of integrated research. The key policy implication of this work is that its findings can be conducive to the development of public discourses of crime and justice, crime-related narratives and strategies for the public communication ofcrime that keep people informed about crime, but ‘free from fear’.
Worry about crime and psychological distance: applying Trope and Liberman's construal level theory to fear of crime.
Jonathan Jackson, Ioanna Gouseti (2015)
Construal level theory of psychological distance (CLT) is a social psychological theory that explores the mechanisms that people use to experience and express reactions to distal events, i.e., events that are not present in the ‘here and now’. The first mechanism is psychological distance from or proximity to the distal event in question; the second mechanism is mental construal of the distal event itself.
In this chapter we consider the applicability of CLT for research into people’s representations of crime and their fear of crime. Our goals are twofold: (a) to stimulate new lines of enquiry in criminological research into fear of crime and (b) to discuss their theoretical and policy implications.
Construal level theory and fear of crime.
Ioanna Gouseti, Jonathan Jackson (2015)
Construal level theory of psychological distance (CLT) is a social psychological theory that explores the mechanisms that people use to experience and express reactions to distal events, i.e., events that are not present in the 'here and now'. The first mechanism is psychological distance from or proximity to the distal event in question; the second mechanism is mental construal of the distal event itself.
In this chapter we consider the applicability of CLT for research into people's representations of crime and their fear of crime. Our goals are twofold: (a) to stimulate new lines of enquiry in criminological research into fear of crime and (b) to discuss their theoretical and policy implications.
Threatened by violence? Psychological links between victimization, perceived risk and fear of stranger violence.
Jonathan Jackson, Ioanna Gouseti (2015)
A good deal of research shows a strong empirical link between violent victimization experience and fear of violent crime, yet we lack a convincing account of how exactly victimization elevates emotional appraisal of risk. Drawing on data from a national survey of three European countries (Italy, Bulgaria and Lithuania), we link primary victimization (where the individuals in question have been physically attacked in the local streets by a stranger) and secondary victimization (where the individual in question knows somebody who had been physically attacked in the local streets by a stranger) to perceptions of the likelihood, controllability and consequences of violent victimization.
We also show that primary victims of violence are 'sensitive' to risk: on the one hand, primary victims tend to associate the personal consequences of violent victimization to be more severe (compared to secondary victims and non-victims); on the other hand, a lower level of perceived likelihood of victimization is needed to predict a relatively high level of worry about future victimization because of this elevated sense of consequence.
Finally, we find that people's desire for predictability, order and structure strengthens the estimated effects of secondary victimization on perceived likelihood and worry about victimization. People who prefer order and dislike ambiguity seem to be especially troubled by local incidents of interpersonal violence. We finish with some thoughts on future work into the psychology of the fear of crime.
Fear of crime: An entry to the encyclopedia of theoretical criminology.
Jonathan Jackson, Ioanna Gouseti (2014)
Fear of crime describes a range of different feelings, thoughts and behaviours that people have regarding the subjective risk of criminal victimization. In this entry the main conclusions of criminological inquiry on these feelings, thoughts and behaviours are reviewed.
We also consider the ways in which individuals impute criminal threat onto individuals, groups and community conditions, and propose possible avenues for future research.