Report: Elderly less fearful of crime

May 18, 2011 at 11:59 PM
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INDIANA, Pa., May 18 (UPI) -- The fear of crime is not as prevalent among the elderly as reported in earlier studies, U.S. researchers say.

Study co-authors John Lewis, a faculty member at Indiana University of Pennsylvania's department of criminology, and Mike Arter, a graduate of IUP's criminology doctoral program, say with the older U.S. population growing exponentially -- the U.S. Census Bureau shows there are 48.6 million citizens age 60 and older in 2006, compared to 35.6 million of 60-plus citizens in 1980 -- the study is an important one for the baby boom generation.

One of the factors that can affect the quality of life for the elderly is the perception and fear of crime among the elderly population, Lewis says.

"The fear of crime among the elderly has been the focus of numerous studies over the past several decades," Lewis says in a statement. "Unfortunately, there is little consensus among researchers and a wide swing in findings from one decade to another. Basically, earlier studies reported fear of crime among the elderly as a significant problem or concern of the elderly, but more recent research indicates the elderly are no more afraid of crime than any other age group."

The findings are published in the Law Enforcement Executive Forum.

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