Street crime tops list of life's worst nightmares

HEATHER MILLS

Home Affairs Correspondent

People are more worried about burglary and rape than they are about unemployment, ill-health and road accidents.

Fear of crime still tops the list of "life worries" - despite the fact that most of us are more likely to fall prone to other misfortunes - according to the latest Home Office research.

The study is a serious blow to the Government, coming after 16 years of Conservative policy and as the party fights a rearguard action to maintain its law and order credentials. Further, it supports Labour's claims that crime, and the fear of crime, are heightened in poor neighbourhoods frequented by drunks, tramps and drug addicts, vandals and graffiti artists.

It suggests that putting bobbies on the beat might be an effective way of restoring pedestrian use of the streets - or as Jack Straw, Labour's home affairs spokesman, had suggested, "reclaiming the streets".

Yesterday, researchers themselves expressed surprise that given the low level of risk, as many as 12 per cent of people said they were worried about terrorist attacks. By comparison only 11 per cent worried about household accidents - yet 2.5 million people a year will end up in hospital as a result of mishaps in the home.

But Harry Fletcher, assistant general secretary of the National Association of Probation Officers, said: "The fear of crime is understandable in the light of the growth in violent crime during the last decade, although it remains the case that the chances of being the victim of violence are slight."

The study was based on the findings of the latest British Crime Survey, which examines the experience of more than 15,000 households and is regarded as the most accurate indicator of crime rates and trends in England and Wales.

It showed that for many women, domestic violence poses a grave threat. Nearly 1 in 30 women said they were worried about being attacked by someone in their own family. Among women under 30, the figure rose to 1 in 10 and in inner cities was as high as 1 in 5.

The impact of domestic violence, harassment, sexual insults, and behaviour that many women have experienced "fairly routinely" at the hands of men, has contributed to their fear of crime, more than from the chance of a life-threatening attack, the report concludes. More than a quarter of all women under 30 had received abusive comment in the streets, one in five had been followed.

The study showed that between 1 and 2 per cent of people did not go out of their houses after dark, for fear of attack. Older women, up to 11 per cent in inner cities, are most likely to stay at home. For many others, fear of crime meant they avoided events or activities, like cinemas, theatres and evening classes.

Yesterday, David Maclean, a Home Office minister, said the best way of curbing fear of crime was to tackle crime itself. Citing the recent drop in recorded crime, he said recent government initiatives to tackle crime, such as the introduction of closed-circuit television and police operations targeting specific crimes, like burglary and mugging, had improved people's confidence.

tAnxiety about Crime, findings from the British Crime Survey, Home Office Research and Planning Unit, Queen Anne's Gate, London SW1H 9AT.

News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsSchool leaver's pic YouTube video features staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
Sport
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Travel
travel
News
Robyn Lawley
people
News
people
News
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmThe film is surprisingly witty, but could do with taking itself more seriously, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
people
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

VB.Net Developer - £40k - Surrey - WANTED ASAP

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .Mid Level V...

Digitakl Business Analyst, Slough

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Competitive Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Dig...

Mechanical Estimator: Nuclear Energy - Sellafield

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Car, Medical, Fuel + More!: Progressive Recruitmen...

Dynamics NAV Techno-Functional Consultant

£50000 - £60000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: An absolutely o...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain