Sense of Security and Crime: The Residents' Perspective
Purpose: The cognitive purpose of the study was to analyse theoretical aspects of fear of crime based on the literature and current academic studies in this field. Furthermore, the utilitarian purpose was to demonstrate the relation, or absence thereof, between the sense of security and the level of security as expressed in statistical data. Design/Methodology/Approach: The analysis of local sense of security was based on a diagnostic survey conducted by the author in 2017 with the survey technique among a representative sample of 600 randomly selected adult residents of the Country of Cieszyn, Poland. The data on the crime level came from the statistics provided by Statistics Poland and the Police. Findings: The level of the sense of security in each community is determined by the criminal offence rate. The lower the number of criminal offences, the higher the local community's sense of security. In the context of the total number of crimes detected, the above relation does not exist. Practical Implications: The feeling of security of an individual in the context of crime is affected by such factors as: the actual level of crime and its subjective assessment, the presence of social problems and their subjective perception, objectively present signs of disorganisation of the local community, a subjective assessment of the risk of victimisation and the ability to control it, direct and indirect victimisation, demographic, and general characteristics of the idea about crime. Originality/value: The sense of security of an individual, both in the context of its increase and decrease, depends on several factors, not just the level of crime. The research findings represent an introduction to further analyses of the problem, which should be based on the crime fear index, including the currently greatest fear - the fear for one's health, rather than just a single dependent variable.