Interview Data for Analysis: Experiences of Crime and Fear of Crime

Interview Data for Analysis: Experiences of Crime and Fear of Crime




The research problem is crime and fear of crime which remain as s major political and public issues in the United Kingdom. This is attributed to the rapid growth in crimes and population. Based on the British Crime Survey which analysed fear of crime, King-Hele (2013) established that fear of crime remains a major threat to society in the same manner as the crime itself. Fear of crime is associated to the feelings, attitudes, emotions, and reactions people have towards victimisation and crime.

The specific questions in the interview question guide that these extracts correspond to are:

  • Can you tell me about how crime has impacted on your life since you’ve been living here?
  • Can you tell me about unsafe situations in your life since you’ve been living here?
  • Can you think of something you have seen, read or heard recently that has made you fearful [not necessarily about crime]?

The broader research issue/question that you could analyse the data to answer is: What are people’s experiences of crime and fear of crime?

The analysis of the interview data is based on narrative analyses, which focus on the content of the interviews and themes that arise from the responses of the participants. Narrative analysis treats interviews as knowledge that comprises of social reality of the narrator (Etherington, 2007; Etherington, 2010) and offers the sense of that participants experience in its depth, richness, messiness, and texture, through the use of the actual words spoken. The drawback linked with the use of narrative analysis is time constraints in terms of reading and understanding the interview transcripts. In spite the drawback, narrative analysis seems to be the most suitable for analysing qualitative data because it takes the narratives as the investigative focus to establish the major themes (Hollway & Jefferson, 2000).

Emerging Themes

As part of narrative analysis, thematic analysis is used to generate major themes that are used to analyse the oral and written narrative data (Riessman, 2008). The themes emerging from the four interviews are; (i) impact of crime, (ii) unsafe situations, (iii) fear of crime, and (iv) ways to curb crime.

(i)             Impact of Crime on Life

Crime has negative impact on the life of people and it can restrict their movements from one place to another. For instance, Arthur noted that because of his disability he is “a bit nervous about going out at night… it wouldn't have bothered me” (line 8 and 9). Thus, because if his disability, Arthur fears going out. Billy on the other hand noted that he has been burgled and before that crime has never bothered him at all. Ann another participant recounted how their care was stolen twice while it was parked. Ann noted that the car was stolen the second time after it was parked at the driveway. The car was smashed. She noted that there are “numerous times when we've been woken in morning and looked out of window” (line 22) and called police one time because the burglars were making the kitchen window open. Thus, crime has impacted Ann several times together with her family.

            Brenda said that crime has not had any effects on her life, while living in her current location. This is because she has ever across it, but has “heard of people saying there's been vandalism and this, that and the other. But as regards to real crime, I've never come across it on here at all” (line 8 and 9). Thus, Brenda has never had experience with crime, but has heard people talk about it. She has heard crimes such as “somebody breaking into the house and hitting them on the head with something” (line 19), and incidents of burglaries and vandalism during summer time.

(ii)           Unsafe Situations

Environmental factors have impact on crime and fear of crimes. Riskier environments have effect on the feelings and attitudes of people towards crime. Arthur pointed out that the neighbourhood is no longer safe to live as it is characterized by incidents of burglaries, which increase fear of victimization. In addition some kinds were throwing stones to his house and other people “had their houses broke into and they can't get much satisfaction from police” (line 61). There are also assaults which makes the environment riskier. The neighbourhood is riskier because like three years ago Billy was out for three hours and when he got back, the house was totally ransacked. In addition, other rooms in the apartment were also broken into this was strange to him. Thus, there is an agreement that there are unsafe situations in which the participants have experienced.

Ann pointed out that “crime is on increase and you can't really do anything about” (line 31). And one time, their children were woken up by two men messing about round back. In addition, even during the second incident, the drive way was locked and secure, but the thief was not deterred by the security system. Brenda has never experienced a crime, but she noted that it is a seasonal thing and it affects older people and single women living on the estate. Nonetheless, she feels that the area is safe and for this reason Ann and her husband does not have an alarm. In addition, although in most of the nights she is alone at the house, she does not feel unsafe.

(iii)         Fear of Crime

Fear of crime deters people from moving during the night and reporting cases to law enforcement officers (Wynne, 2008). For instance, Arthur fears going out at night because he is a bit nervous, and when he was younger he “never used to be bothered 'cos I've always been pretty active. I always felt I could defend myself” (line 22 and 23). In addition, even when he heard the door in the neighbourhood being banged he never checked out or called the police because he feared being attacked by the burglars who were well known to him.

Billy pointed out that after the incidence of burglary; he called the landlord and police. The policeman told him that "chances are you're not going to get your stuff back" (line 85). As a result, Billy has a bit paranoid and the noises in the neighborhood have increased his fears towards crime.

According to Ann, there is fear of crime after the three incidents (two related to car theft and another on someone breaking into their home). After the incidents, Ann cannot sleep easily and the “slightest little noise, bolt upright in bed” (line 148). Even the children have been affected by the incidents and they do not like anybody coming to their doors. Other than fear of crime, Ann contended that “every time you picked up paper, there's somebody been burgled or somebody has been knocked about” (line 131). Thus, crime is evident, and this creates fear to people like Ann.

            Given that Brenda lives in a safe environment, she does not have fear crime. Thus, she is not vulnerable to crime, and for this reason, she does not have an alarm system. Nonetheless, Brenda “always keep my door locked… wouldn't open the door to anybody at night” (Line 80 and 78). However, stories related to mugging and “old people that keep getting knocked down by youngsters and stealing” (Line 104). As a result, she is security conscious and being married to a policeman makes her feel safer.  As Brenda gets older, she is worried by the number of mugging of old women by youngsters who steal their money. However, because she is always with her husband when going out for pensions and shopping, she has never been affected by television and local paper news related to stealing and mugging. 

(iv)          Ways to Curb Crime.

There are different ways which can be used to reduce crime and fear of crime. For instance, community policing and Arthur pointed out that they “have a neighbourhood watch” (Line 45) although the fear of crime is still high in the neighbourhood. Ann noted that locking their houses and making the drive secure can be used to reduce, but cannot deter crime. According to Billy, police are cooperative, although the burglars are more conscious to avoid being caught. Brenda noted that the use of alarm and alarm systems in the houses has been recommended by the housing association as it can keep their homes safe.

 Summary of the Analysis

Crime and fear of crime remain high and have impacted people in different ways. The findings were analysed through narrative analysis, whereby the primary themes generated were impact of crime, unsafe situations, fear of crime, and ways to curb crime. Burglary, vandalism, car theft, and mugging are the primary crimes that have affected the persons interviewed. There is consistency in the analysed findings that fear of crime is as a result of past experiences of criminal activities such as theft, burglary, vandalism, and mugging. Even with presence of police, community policing, locking of houses, and alarms in houses, people continue to experience and fear crime. Crime and fears can be reduced via community policing, policing, locking houses, and using alarm systems.



References List

Etherington, K. (2007) Ethical research in reflexive relationships. Qualitative Inquiry, vol. 13, no. 50, pp. 599 -616.

Etherington, K. (2010). Narrative approaches to case studies. University of Bristol, UK.

Hollway, W. & Jefferson, T. (2000). Doing qualitative research differently: Free association, narrative and the interview method. London: Sage

King-Hele, S. (2013) Analysing the Fear of Crime using the British Crime Survey. Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) [Online] Available at: <> Accessed 8 Jan, 2017).

Riessman, C. K. (2008). Narrative Methods for the Human Sciences. CA, USA: SAGE Publications.


Wynne, T. (2008). An Investigation into the Fear of Crime: Is there a Link between the Fear of Crime and the Likelihood of Victimisation? Internet Journal of Criminology, pp. 1-27.

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