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Understanding the Fear of Street Gangs: The Importance of Community Conditions [Santa Ana, California, 1997]

Resource Type
Dataset : survey data
  • Lane, Jodi (University of Florida)
  • Petersilia, Joan (Stanford University)
Other Title
  • Version 1 (Subtitle)
Publication Date
Funding Reference
  • National Science Foundation
Free Keywords
bilingual education; communities; crime; gang violence; gangs; immigration; language; neighborhood change; neighborhood characteristics; neighborhoods; residential segregation; residents; urban areas; urban crime; urban decline; urban poverty; urban problems
  • Abstract

    This study was designed as an exploratory study to understand fear of gang crime among residents living in an urban area plagued by gangs. During the Summer of 1997, six focus groups were conducted in Santa Ana, California -- two in lower income neighborhoods, two in middle income neighborhoods, and two in upper income neighborhoods. After the focus groups ended, participants were asked to take disposable cameras with them and take pictures of examples of neighborhood factors that prompted them to fear gangs and then mail them back to me in a postage-paid envelope. The research questions guiding this study were: How do the fear-of-crime perspectives apply to fear of gang crime specifically? When worrying about gang crime, do different people focus primarily on different problems (e.g., some diversity or some disorder), or do the same people think about all of these factors? Findings first showed that all four theoretical perspectives on fear of crime applied to the same people at once, rather than to different people (e.g., some being worried about racial and ethnic differences but others about disorder). Second, findings illustrated specifically how these residents connected the factors into one thought process leading to fear of gangs. Residents in these groups clearly believed that ethnic and cultural diversity, or in this case, recent "illegal" Latino immigrants, brought disorder, which in turn caused community decline and brought gangs. This thought process led to personal fear of gang-related victimization. Their beliefs about these causal connections were primarily influenced by their knowledge and observations that gangs in the area were Latino; by direct observation of area diversity disorder, and decline; and by experience living in their changing neighborhoods over time. In addition, beliefs were fueled by indirect victimization, or knowledge gained primarily through acquaintances such as neighbors and community policing officers.
  • Abstract

    The study was designed to better understand the thinking process that leads people to fear gangs and specifically to understand how the four perspectives on fear of crime (indirect victimization, disorder/incivilities, community concern/decline, and subcultural diversity) apply to fear of gang crime specifically.
  • Table of Contents


    • DS0: Study-Level Files
    • DS1: Delhi Neighborhood File
    • DS2: Floral Park File
    • DS3: Mabury Park File
    • DS4: Morrison Park File
    • DS5: Townsend Raitt File
    • DS6: Valley Adams File
Temporal Coverage
  • Time period: 1997
  • Collection date: 1997
Geographic Coverage
  • California
  • Santa Ana
  • United States
Sampled Universe
Adult Santa Ana, California residents living in six specific neighborhoods. Smallest Geographic Unit: specific neighborhoods
Snowball sampling. See Lane, J. (2002). Fear of Gang Crime: A Qualitative Examination of the Four Perspectives. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 39: 437-471.
Collection Mode
  • face-to-face interview

    The data in this study are all qualitative. As a result, the standard ICPSR product suite is not available for this study.

    The Townsend Raitt neighborhood transcript is shorter than the other transcripts. Conversations with the investigator have revealed that the transcript deposited with ICPSR is complete.

Funding insitution(s): National Science Foundation (SBR 96-31719).
This study is freely available to ICPSR member institutions via web download.
Alternative Identifiers
  • 32161 (Type: ICPSR Study Number)
  • Lane, Jodi, Meeker, James W.. Combining theoretical models of perceived risk and fear of gang crime among Whites and Latinos. Victims and Offenders.6, (1), 64-92.2011.
    • ID: 10.1080/15564886.2011.534010 (DOI)
  • Lane, Jodi. Exploring fear of general and gang crimes among juveniles on probation: The impacts of delinquent behaviors. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice.4, (1), 34-54.2006.
    • ID: 10.1177/1541204005282311 (DOI)
  • Lane, Jodi, Meeker, James W.. Theories and fear of gang crime among Whites and Latinos: A replication and extension of prior research. Journal of Criminal Justice.33, (6), 627-641.2005.
    • ID: 10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2005.08.009 (DOI)
  • Lane, Jodi. Fear of gang crime: A look at three theoretical models. Law and Society Review.37, (2), 425-456.2003.
    • ID: 10.1111/1540-5893.3702008 (DOI)
  • Lane, Jodi. Fear of gang crime: A qualitative examination of the four perspectives. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency.39, (4), 437-471.2002.
    • ID: 10.1177/002242702237288 (DOI)

Update Metadata: 2015-08-05 | Issue Number: 6 | Registration Date: 2015-06-16

Lane, Jodi; Petersilia, Joan (2012): Understanding the Fear of Street Gangs: The Importance of Community Conditions [Santa Ana, California, 1997]. Version 1. Version: v1. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.