Enhancing community cohesion through the promotion of positive and inclusive responses to fear of crime

Community concerns about crime can have both negative and positive impacts on civic engagement and social cohesion. MMIC Director Rebecca Wickes is featured in a major new international project to create practical tools to promote positive, inclusive responses to concerns about crime in the community.

How do individuals perceive crime in their community? What actions do community members take when they are concerned about crime? Do these actions undermine the cohesiveness of the community, or do they encourage positive and inclusive practices? Importantly, how can local and state government work with communities to reduce worry about crime? These questions form the basis of a new research collaboration with researchers from the Monash Migration and Inclusion Centre (MMIC), the Sydney Institute of Criminology (SIC) and the London School of Economics (LSE).

Excessive worry and anxiety about crime can negatively impact individuals and communities. Yet concerns about crime can also lead to positive civic engagement that brings communities together and makes communities stronger. This study, funded by the Victorian Department of Justice and Community Safety, will identify the key causes of worry and fear for residents and create practical tools to promote positive, inclusive responses to concerns about crime.

The project advances the ground-breaking work by Professors Murray Lee (SIC) and Jon Jackson (LSE) on how we understand and capture fear and worry about crime and continues Rebecca Wickes’ (MMIC) long-standing interest how community change influences community engagement, interaction and crime control.