Desarrollo y Sociedad
Print version ISSN 0120-3584
The perception of security related to crime is not always tied to the individual level of victimization or the real risk of crime, but rather to the fear of crime. To investigate this, we carried out a survey among the community at Universidad de los Andes. We found that the fear of crime is more decisive than the actual victimization in terms of shaping people's perception of security during Bogotá's current administration (i.e. Garzón) as compared to its three former administrations (i.e. Mockus-Peñalosa-Mockus). This becomes even more surprising if one takes into account the fact that Bogotá has experienced a decrease in most high social-impact crimes, according to official data, yet the survey reveals that still one third of those surveyed feel worst under Garzón's administration as compared to the three former ones. We show that the perception of security in public spaces, and on public transport, is determined by factors which are related more to the fear of crime than to the level of subjective victimization (understood as that of the surveyed and his/her kin). This paper also corroborates widely held beliefs that surround the fear-of-crime literature, such as the attitude towards crime risk among the young, and the higher perception of safety that men feel as compared to women.
Keywords : Crime; perception of insecurity; fear of crime; stepwise probit.