Fear of Crime: Interpreting Victimization Risk

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Ferraro examines how people interpret their risk of criminal victimization and identifies who is most likely to be afraid of crime. Although many previous studies of fear of crime do not explicitly consider the concept of risk or perceived risk in estimating the prevalence of fear, the approach taken here considers perceived risk as central to the entire interpretive process. It links national survey data on how people think about crime to official crime rates in America, and uses the comprehensive set of environmental and personal variables on a nationally representative sample to examine how fear develops for ten different types of crime.
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About the author

Kenneth F. Ferraro is Professor of Sociology at Purdue University.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Pages
179
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ISBN
9781438402666
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Social Science / Sociology / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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In the United States today, we are on the verge of fulfilling a nightmare scenario. Parents are fearful of letting their children play in their own yards and elderly people are afraid to leave their homes. The bogeyman in this rampant panic about crime is the young black male, who, in the media and public image, is a ?superpredator? lurking on every street corner ready to attack any prey that is vulnerable. But is crime in America really as bad as the public has been made to believe?Power, Politics, and Crime argues that the current panic over crime has been manufactured by the media, law enforcement bureaucracies, and the private prison industry. It shows how the definition of criminal behavior systematically singles out the inner-city African American. But urban minorities aren't the only victims. Although crime rates have been declining for 25 years, vast amounts of money pour into the criminal justice-industrial complex, diverting scarce resources from other social services such as education, social welfare, and health care. While in recent years downsizing has affected almost every segment of the public sector, the criminal justice bureaucracies have seen an unprecedented expansion.Through ethnographic observations, analysis of census data, and historical research, William Chambliss describes what is happening, why it has come about, and what can be done about it. He explores the genesis of crime as a political issue, and the effect that crime policies have had on different segments of the population. The book is more than a statement about the politics of crime and punishment?it's a powerful indictment of contemporary law enforcement practices in the United States.In addition to updating the data the author has added a discussion of the "declining crime rate." Contrary to presentations in the media and by law enforcement agencies, the rate has been declining for over 25 years and therefore cannot be attributed to any "get tough on crime" policies so dear to the hearts of prosecutors and politicians. Chapter Seven, "Crime Myths and Smokescreens" has been completely revised and updated. Updates include a discussion of the recent scandal in the Los Angeles Police Department which has resulted in criminal charges against police officers and the release of numerous convicted felons because of falsified evidence and testimony on the part of police officers. The attack on Louima in the police station in New York as well as the shooting of Diallo are discussed in some detail as well as other recent exposures of police brutality and corruption. The sections on white collar, corporate, and state crimes have been updated and recent examples added to the text.
Random Violence is a deft and thought-provoking exploration of the ways we talk about—and why we worry about—new crimes and new forms of victimization. Focusing on so-called random crimes such as freeway shootings, gang violence, hate crimes, stalking, and wilding, Joel Best shows how new crime problems emerge and how some quickly fade from public attention while others spread and become enduring subjects of concern. Best's original and incisive argument illuminates the fact that while these crimes are in actuality neither new, nor epidemic, nor random, the language used to describe them nonetheless shapes both private fears and public policies.

Best scrutinizes the melodramatic quality of the American public's attitudes toward crime, exposing the cultural context for the popularity of "random violence" as a catch-all phrase to describe contemporary crime, and the fallacious belief that violence is steadily rising. He points out that the age, race, and sex of homicide victims reveal that violence is highly patterned.

Best also details the contemporary ideology of victimization, as well as the social arrangements that create and support a victim industry that can label large numbers of victims. He demonstrates why it has become commonplace to "declare war" on social problems, including drugs, crime, poverty, and cancer, and outlines the complementary influence of media, activists, officials, and experts in institutionalizing crime problems. Intrinsic to all these concerns is the way in which policy choices and outcomes are affected by the language used to describe social problems.
The scientific study of aging is a relatively nascent field of inquiry. Although philosophic and literary reflections on what it means to grow older appear in the earliest historical records, the systematic study of aging began in earnest about a century ago. Scholarly interest in the topic has accelerated in recent decades, due in part to rapid population aging in developed nations. As a result, the study of aging has been incorporated into many disciplines, emphasizing concepts, theories, and methods to elucidate the antecedents and consequences of growing older. Although each discipline has key concepts and empirical generalizations about aging, there is little agreement across disciplines about the intellectual core of gerontology. Each discipline brings its own intellectual heritage and perspective to the study of aging, but the question posed by author Ken Ferraro is whether there is an emergent perspective or way of thinking about aging that transcends the disciplines. Biologists, psychologists, and sociologists may claim an interest in gerontology, but do they have a common image of aging or a set of principles to guide their research? Do they share a paradigm-a fundamental image of aging-that incorporates concepts and empirical generalizations from multiple disciplines? And when disciplinary approaches to gerontology clash, which approach or conceptualization of aging is likely to emerge as part of the paradigm? Although biologists, psychologists, and social scientists share an interest in the study of aging, they are distinctive in how they conduct their research. The Gerontological Imagination provides an integrative paradigm of aging that makes it the first book to identify intellectual common ground among scholars studying aging. Ferraro identifies an underlying set of principles that constitute a paradigm for the study of aging: causality, life course analysis, multifaceted change, heterogeneity, accumulation processes, and ageism. The proposed paradigm provides an efficient way to identify and interpret essential ideas, findings, models, and theories across multiple disciplines that study aging.
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER, NAMED BY THE TIMES AS ONE OF "6 BOOKS TO HELP UNDERSTAND TRUMP'S WIN" AND SOON TO BE A MAJOR-MOTION PICTURE DIRECTED BY RON HOWARD

"You will not read a more important book about America this year."—The Economist

"A riveting book."—The Wall Street Journal

"Essential reading."—David Brooks, New York Times

Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The disintegration of this group, a process that has been slowly occurring now for more than forty years, has been reported with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.

The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love,” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually one of their grandchildren would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of success in achieving generational upward mobility. But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that J.D.'s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, never fully escaping the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. With piercing honesty, Vance shows how he himself still carries around the demons of his chaotic family history.

A deeply moving memoir, with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.

Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool? What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common? Why do drug dealers still live with their moms? How much do parents really matter? How did the legalization of abortion affect the rate of violent crime?

These may not sound like typical questions for an economist to ask. But Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. He is a much-heralded scholar who studies the riddles of everyday life—from cheating and crime to sports and child-rearing—and whose conclusions turn conventional wisdom on its head.

Freakonomics is a groundbreaking collaboration between Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, an award-winning author and journalist. They usually begin with a mountain of data and a simple question. Some of these questions concern life-and-death issues; others have an admittedly freakish quality. Thus the new field of study contained in this book: Freakonomics.

Through forceful storytelling and wry insight, Levitt and Dubner show that economics is, at root, the study of incentives—how people get what they want, or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing. In Freakonomics, they explore the hidden side of . . . well, everything. The inner workings of a crack gang. The truth about real-estate agents. The myths of campaign finance. The telltale marks of a cheating schoolteacher. The secrets of the Ku Klux Klan.

What unites all these stories is a belief that the modern world, despite a great deal of complexity and downright deceit, is not impenetrable, is not unknowable, and—if the right questions are asked—is even more intriguing than we think. All it takes is a new way of looking.

Freakonomics establishes this unconventional premise: If morality represents how we would like the world to work, then economics represents how it actually does work. It is true that readers of this book will be armed with enough riddles and stories to last a thousand cocktail parties. But Freakonomics can provide more than that. It will literally redefine the way we view the modern world.

Bonus material added to the revised and expanded 2006 edition

The original New York Times Magazine article about Steven D. Levitt by Stephen J. Dubner, which led to the creation of this book.

Seven “Freakonomics” columns written for the New York Times Magazine, published between August 2005 and April 2006.

Selected entries from the Freakonomics blog, posted between April 2005 and May 2006 at http://www.freakonomics.com/blog/.

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