How useful is vulnerability for the understanding of fear of crime? This study reviews previous vulnerability approaches in fear of crime research, employs a more rigorous temporal perspective and distinguishes more precisely between individuals and their contexts.

This PhD pro­ject in­vest­ig­ates the use­ful­ness of vul­ner­ab­il­ity to ex­plain fear of crime, build­ing on pre­vi­ous vul­ner­ab­il­ity ap­proaches, fol­low­ing a more rig­or­ous tem­por­al per­spect­ive and dis­tin­guish­ing more pre­cisely between per­sons and their con­texts. The lon­git­ud­in­al per­spect­ive provides more re­li­able sup­port for the vul­ner­ab­il­ity ap­proach than pre­vi­ous cross-sec­tion­al stud­ies be­cause un­ob­served het­ero­gen­eity is re­duced. The ana­lyses sep­ar­ate between-per­son differ­ences from with­in-per­son changes, demon­strat­ing that most vul­ner­ab­il­ity factors (e.g., per­son­al­ity traits, fin­an­cial strain, sup­port­ive net­works) are re­lated to fear of crime. Vul­ner­ab­il­ity links per­sons and en­vir­on­ments, in­dic­at­ing in­ter­act­ive re­la­tions between in­di­vidu­al vul­ner­ab­il­ity factors and ex­tern­al stressors (neigh­bor­hood char­ac­ter­ist­ics and vic­tim­iz­a­tion).

In ad­di­tion, the im­pact of ad­verse (early) life events on fear of crime is in­vest­ig­ated. An ex­am­in­a­tion of neigh­bor­hood char­ac­ter­ist­ics and their spa­tial lags shows that so­cial dis­ad­vant­age in the (ad­ja­cent) neigh­bor­hood has a strong con­tex­tu­al in­fluence on fear of crime.

This PhD pro­ject is based on two waves of sur­vey data from the pro­ject “Crime, dis­order, and so­cial cap­it­al in urb­an neigh­bor­hoods” (head of pro­ject: Prof. Di­et­rich Ober­wit­tler).