Young Adults’ Experiences of Safety in the Proximate Environment

Dr Michael Chataway1

1Queensland University Of Technology, Brisbane, Australia

A number of studies have examined the reasons for why individuals become fearful of crime, despite their low likelihood of victimisation experience.  However, less is known about the opposite attitudinal pattern—feelings of safety, and what may lead people away from fearing criminal victimisations.  Using mobile app data collected from a series of ecological momentary assessments of young adults living in Southeast Queensland, the current study aimed to better understand the drivers of safety and security perceptions across day-to-day movements in public spaces.  Findings of a thematic analysis of over 100 text-based comments collected from the app suggest that perceptions of safety are driven by: physical features of the immediate environment, social characteristics of a place, and an underlying familiarity/awareness with a place.  The findings of this study are discussed in terms of their broader application to developing safer and more welcoming places for community members.


Biography:

Dr Chataway is a lecturer and early career researcher at the School of Justice, Queensland University of Technology.  His research focuses on measuring context-dependent fear of crime using mobile technology.  His research on fear of crime has been published in both national and internationally renowned criminology journals.

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