Only a minor subsection ofthe population have first-hand experience of violent crime, in reference tothis, the majority of people whom have not had any direct contact with violentcrime, believe the world is worse than it is; the result of this is major sectionsof the population within societies becoming more afraid of getting victimizedthan need be (McQuivey 1997). The fear victimizationparadox is founded on one’s ability/inability to master involvement in aviolent crime.
Fear Victimization paradox exists independently of the likelihoodof involvement in crime, it can happen despite the likelihood an individualcould be very likely become involved in a violent crime; “a truck driver in themiddle of the night at a rest area, its fear of crime might not be high becauseit thinks that it has control over such a situation” (Sandman 1993; Sparks andOgles 1990). Vanderveen (2003) posits that “men usually think they can handleit. Women feel more vulnerable”, in reality however, men are more likely tobecome a victim of a crime (Bureau of Statistic and Research 1996).
Researchhas indicated that facts and figures have no influence on the people’sperception of crime, furthermore, that the media is just one of many variablefactors to be taken into account when analysing prevalent fear of crime, whetheron an individual or societal basis. “A person’s personality or socializationare variables which have to be taken into account” (McQuivey, 1997). Older people have a great fear of becoming a victim ofcrime because they believe they are more vulnerable than younger members insociety (Carcach et. al.
, 2001). Their physical fitness and strength hasdeclined leaving them in a weakened state, and therefore possibly targetingthem as easy victims as they are less likely to be able to defend themselves (Carcachet. al., 2001). Gerbner et al (1980) confirmed his previous research in thoseindividuals who watch more television than average showed a higher rate of feartowards their environment, than those who watch less.
More recently Dowler(2003) found that even when taking into account factors such as race, age,gender, income, education and marital status, those individuals whom watch morecrime shows tend to exhibit a significantly higher rate of being fearful ofcrime (Dowler, 2003). Dowler went on to discover that hours of watchingtelevision news programs did not have a significant relationship with higherlevels of fear of crime.