Social Fear of Crime and Its Consequences


social rigorism
penal populism


How to Cite

Wilk, L. and Fibinger, B. (2020) “Social Fear of Crime and Its Consequences”, Scientific Journal of Bielsko-Biala School of Finance and Law. Bielsko-Biała, PL, 24(1), pp. 54–58. doi: 10.5604/01.3001.0014.1353.


Social fear of crime is a phenomenon of interest to scientific disciplines. The present study draws primarily on the achievements of criminology. It shows that there are different ways of interpreting fear of crime, explaining its causes and responding to it. The conclusions also depend on the perspectives - whether it is the perspective of an individual, small social groups or large social structures. There are always objective and subjective elements in evaluations, including irrational ones. The latter hinder rational criminal policy. Fear of crime has negative social consequences, such as a loss of citizens' sense of security, aggressive attitudes, a loss of trust in law enforcement services, a reduction in the need for social contact, a reduction in the willingness to provide assistance - as a result, an increase in crime and an even greater sense of threat, particularly affecting socially weaker groups. The rigour and emotional approach to the problem of punishing criminals, resulting from the fear of crime, gives rise to the phenomenon of so-called penal populism, often used by politicians with the participation of the media. Finally, the economic costs of social fear of crime are not insignificant. For these reasons, the phenomenon should not be underestimated, but should not be overestimated, because in the context of other threatening situations and various dangers, it does not constitute the main feeling of threat to citizens and is far behind such fears as social, economic, health, fear of war, etc. Favourable developments in areas other than internal security, e.g. increased prosperity reduces social fear of crime more than restrictive criminal law.

The papers published in the ASEJ Journal (alternate title: Zeszyty Naukowe Wyższej Szkoły Finansów i Prawa w Bielsku-Białej) - published by the University of Applied Sciences in Bielsko-Biała, are online open access distributed (Creative Commons Attribution CC-BY-NC 4.0 license). The Publisher cannot be held liable for the graphic material supplied. The printed version is the original version of the issued Journal. Responsibility for the content rests with the authors and not upon the Scientific Journal or Bielsko-Biala School of Finance and Law.


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