Date of Award

1-29-2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Criminology

First Advisor

Dennis Giever, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Rosemary Gido, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Kathleen Hanrahan, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Timothy Austin, Ph.D.

Abstract

This study examines the relationship between student perceptions of university police and fear of crime through the utilization of a rational choice perspective. Over the last three decades, a plethora of research has explored fear of crime and factors related to its occurrence. However, a thorough review of the literature revealed a limited amount of studies that have examined the impact that fear of crime has on college students. Moreover, no studies were uncovered that utilize rational choice theory to examine whether student perceptions of university police influence their fear. This study attempts to address this shortcoming and therefore add to the fear of crime literature. For purposes of data collection, a survey methodology and two probability sampling techniques were utilized. Sections of various general education and elective liberal studies courses were randomly selected and students within these courses were given a survey to complete. Survey questions examined several factors that can impact fear, and these factors were guided by past fear of crime research. Responses were coded and entered into a statistical software program for analysis. The results revealed empirical support for several fear of crime correlates, including gender, living arrangement, race, perceived risk of victimization and police visibility. Policy implications and suggestions for future research are discussed to conclude the study.

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