A Sociological Approach to the Women's Perception of Fear of Crime in Urban Spaces

Document Type: Research Paper


1 Associate Professor, Department of Social Sciences, University of Tehran

2 Ph.D. in Social Problems, Department of Social Sciences, University of Tehran


Fear of crime is a very prevalent issue today. It challenges the safety of cities. For this reason it has gained considerable attention among the sociologists and criminologists over the last 20 years. Whilst men experiencing relatively high rates of violence, they report their fear of crime less than women. In the contrary women have a much greater fear of crime than men, but are victimized less than men. This paper draws an original data collected from in depth interview with50 women aged 19 to 55 in Tehran. Narratives provided by women included in this study are used throughout the paper as means of drawing the attention to the point that fear is not something that happens out of the context but is situated in the social details of individuals’ circumstances and the life style. The authors of this paper organized their interview around a major theoretical and empirical divide in studies of fear of crime between approaches that see fear as a by-product of physical environment and those have emphasized on the social nature of fear. The result of research shows that the level of fear that a person holds depends on many factors including gender, age, past experience of being victimized, the location where one lives and so on. Based on the finding of this research women asserted that they are more fearful of crime than men. Whether in the marketplace, or the city, it is the fear of sexual violence and harassment from which underpins women high fear.