The research project is designed to analyze the European Crime and Safety Survey 2005 (EUICS) and a number of other European representative surveys. Based on the data obtained from these analyses, it is the intention of the project to provide a cross-country empirical analysis of perceptions, attitudes and experiences of crime.

Does so­cial se­cur­ity pro­tect again fear of crime? The im­pact of wel­fare state policies on crime-re­lated feel­ings of in­sec­ur­ity

Dur­ing the first phase of this pro­ject, we fo­cussed on the ana­lyses of fear of crime as an in­dic­at­or of wider so­cial in­sec­ur­it­ies in a mul­ti­level, cross-coun­try per­spect­ive. One of the fo­cal points of the re­search pro­ject is to ana­lyze fear of crime. Based on pre­vi­ous in­vest­ig­a­tions, it is widely re­cog­nized that sub­ject­ive per­cep­tions of crim­in­al risk are greatly af­fected by non-spe­cif­ic so­cial threats that go far bey­ond a con­crete fear of fall­ing vic­tim to crime. Al­though fear of crime var­ies sig­ni­fic­antly between dif­fer­ent European coun­tries, past re­search has mainly sought to ex­plain dif­fer­ences through in­di­vidu­al char­ac­ter­ist­ics; so­cial is­sues have up un­til now been largely ig­nored. However, the Wel­fare State The­ory of Gosta Es­p­ing-An­der­sen sug­gests that a strong link ex­ists between wel­fare policies and levels of crime re­lated in­sec­ur­it­ies: High­er levels of fear of crime can be ob­served in lib­er­al wel­fare states (such as in Ire­land or Bri­tain) as well as in East­ern Europe, while much lower levels ex­ist in so­cial-demo­crat­ic wel­fare states (as epi­tom­ized by the Nor­d­ic coun­tries). The Wel­fare State The­ory ar­gues that these coun­try dif­fer­ences can be at­trib­uted to dis­sim­il­ar wel­fare policies that not only mod­er­ate the ex­tent but also the nature of fear of crime. The cur­rent re­search pro­ject has been able to con­firm this hy­po­thes­is and demon­strates that a strong cor­rel­a­tion ex­ists between fear of crime and levels of wel­fare spend­ing. Through the use of mul­ti­level mod­el­ing and vari­ous data and coun­try samples (European So­cial Sur­vey 2004 and 2006, EUICS 2005) it has been found that pub­lic in­vest­ment in early edu­ca­tion and child­care fa­cil­it­ies is able to mit­ig­ate fear of crime. It is there­fore as­sumed that in­vest­ment in fam­il­ies and chil­dren in the form of early edu­ca­tion and care as well as the de­vel­op­ment of so­cial and cog­nit­ive skills – and cor­res­pond­ing cop­ing re­sources – will lead to a long-term re­duc­tion in the fear of crime.