Effects of crime and fear of crime on peoples’ mental health
20 October 2010
Crime and fear of crime in communities will be assessed to determine if it has an effect on peoples’ health and if so how this can be tackled.
The study commissioned by the NIHR PHR programme, is being led by Professor Mark Petticrew of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. It will review existing theories and public perceptions linking crime to health and wellbeing and their relationship to poverty and the physical environment. The effectiveness of environmental improvements such as CCTV and urban regeneration will be explored to discover if they can help lessen fear and determine where and how they could be implemented.
Previous research has shown that, as well as the direct effects of crime on health, being afraid of crime can cause anxiety, depression and insecurity and can lead to reduced physical activity, mistrust of others and behavioural changes. Fear of crime is higher in areas of high poverty, unemployment and deprivation.
As well as assessing existing evidence, focus groups will be carried out in three cities (London, Liverpool and Glasgow) to inform the development of the project. The project will be guided by an advisory group including key stakeholders and leading academic experts in crime, public health and the built environment.
Professor Petticrew commented; “To decrease the level of crime and fear of crime we will look at possible interventions such as changes to the built environment, neighbourhood watch and policing programmes. We hope our research will help to determine where and how we can make communities feel safer, in turn improving peoples’ mental health.”
The results are expected to be published in 2012. For more information on this project please view the project page.