Crime in the city centre: Patterns and perception of risk. A case study of Swansea

Millie, Andrew (1997). Crime in the city centre: Patterns and perception of risk. A case study of Swansea. PhD thesis University of Wales Swansea. Dept. of Geography..



The city centre has diminished in importance as a retail and leisure destination due to increased competition, especially from out-of-town developments. It suffers from the disadvantages of inaccessibility and less competitive pricing. Additional to this, it is possible that the city centre is being avoided due to a fear of crime. This thesis recognises that a fear of criminal victimisation, along with a fear of intimidation has a detrimental influence on the vitality, and consequent viability of the city centre. The research takes the form of a broad contextual review of the problem. To date, this has not been undertaken for a U. K. city. The city of Swansea provides the main focus of an applied geographical study. A comparison is developed between the actual incidence of crime, as recorded by the Police, and the fear of crime within the city centre. Consequently, the survey takes on two distinct forms. Firstly, an analysis of crime records is undertaken, identifying vehicle crime, and theft from shops as principal concerns. Additionally, violent crime is recognised as a problem of the evening economy. The second part of the study takes the form of a household questionnaire survey. This identifies the use of the city centre, and the extent to which fear of crime is recognised as an issue. A geography of perceived anxiety, regarding personal safety and car crime, is constructed for both the daytime and night environments. 'Hot spots' of fear are identified at the retail periphery and at pedestrian subways. During the evening, anxieties are accentuated at concentrations of public house and night club activity. The findings of both parts of the survey are drawn together, with implications considered in terms of planning and design. As the thesis is a review of the problem, areas of possible further research are also identified.

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