WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
Crime impacts both real and perceived safety in a community. Increased stress associated with a fear of criminal activity can negatively affect an individual’s physical health, mental health, and quality of life.[i] Fear of crime can reduce a person’s comfort with walking, bicycling, or riding public transit at night, and higher levels of perceived neighborhood safety have been linked with higher levels of physical activity.[ii] On a community level, the perception of high violent crime rates can lead to residential instability.[iii] For example, real or perceived high crime rates can reduce the income of businesses in a neighborhood and can lead to disinvestment in communities.
[i] Mai Stafford, Tarani Chandola, Michael Marmot, “Association between Fear of Crime and Mental Health and Physical Functioning,” American Journal of Public Health 97, no. 11 (2007): 2076-2081.
[ii] “Neighborhood safety and the prevalence of physical inactivity — selected states,” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 48, no. 7 (1996): 143.
[iii] Youth and violence: A report of the Surgeon General (2001).