M.Sc Thesis

M.Sc StudentFrenkel Khen
SubjectFear of Crime Among Women of Different Cultural Heritages in
an Israel Urban Area
DepartmentDepartment of Architecture and Town Planning
Supervisors PROFESSOR EMERITUS Rachel Kallus
Full Thesis text - in Hebrew Full thesis text - Hebrew Version


The current work considers the factors which influence fear of crime among women from different cultural groups in an Israeli urban area and their reactions to it. Previous works found that fear of crime - a negative emotional reaction to the perception of risk - is related to various individual level variables, as well as to some micro-level situational features of the built environment. Continuing upon this work, this study examines the relations between physical features of the built environment, personal traits, fear of crime and the reactions to it.

The study’s theoretical framework suggests that situational factors (signs of incivilities, territorial markers and defensible space features) might affect feelings of vulnerability and perception of both disorder and social disorganization, thus effecting fear of crime (perceived risk, fright). Furthermore, personal traits (cultural identity, home ownership and length of residence) are also related to fear of crime. Finally, fear of crime might express itself thru four distinct reactions (protective measures, avoidance, dissatisfaction and community involvement).

Research was conducted in the Hadar Hacarmel neighborhood in Haifa. Interviews with a total of 57 women residents (20 veteran Jews, 18 former USSR immigrants and 19 Palestinians) were carried out, as well as direct observations of residential streets where respondents live.

Research findings suggest that respondents' perception of risk and disorder are related to both signs of incivilities and territorial markers, but not to defensible space features. Perceived disorder was found to be related to perception of risk, but no connection was found between perception of social disorganization and both fear of crime measures. Respondents' cultural identity affected their feeling of fright, while their length of residence affected perception of risk, and home ownership affected perception of disorder. Avoidance, dissatisfaction and community involvement were also found to be partially related to both perceived risk and fright.

Although the research was carried out in a very different urban setting from most studies of fear of crime, it was found that signs of incivilities and territorial markers were still related to participants’ fear of crime both directly and through their relation with perception of disorder. Research participants treated situational factors as "footprints" of the other cultural groups residing in the area. This suggests that in some urban settings, fear of crime is related to tension between different cultural groups, as it lets residents express these feelings thru it. Fear of crime has more to do with a general feeling of “urban unease” than with actual victimization.