Author: Dr Martina Feilzer, Bangor University and Prof. Ian Rees Jones, Cardiff University

Day Two – Wednesday 26th June

Strand – Health & Well Being

Session Five: 11.15am – 12.45pm


A lack of intergenerational contact and ‘trust’ has been blamed for increasing fear of young people, anti-social behaviour and fear of crime more generally and a number of policy initiatives have been developed to increase intergenerational contact. Additionally, this paper is set against a policy background which accepts uncritically the proposition that with ageing, inevitably, fear of crime and younger people increases with detrimental effects on wellbeing. This goes against a growing body of research evidence and is based predominantly on headline rates produced by public opinion surveys or the British Crime Survey, now Crime Survey for England and Wales.

This paper draws on secondary data analysis of British Crime Survey/Crime Survey for England and Wales data from a number of different periods, 1984-2010, in order to investigate the correlations between ageing, fear of crime, and perceptions of younger people as a threat. We will look at cohort effects as well as treat age as a continuum in contrast to using categories of the ‘elderly’. The analyses have resulted in some counterintuitive findings regarding the general perception that ‘the elderly’ fear crime and young people. It raises some questions as to why links made between ageing and fear of crime have been so persistent in the face of a small but growing body of incompatible research evidence.

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