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Health Place. 2010 Nov;16(6):1156-65. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2010.07.007. Epub 2010 Aug 5.

Neighbourhood design and fear of crime: a social-ecological examination of the correlates of residents' fear in new suburban housing developments.

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Centre for the Built Environment and Health, School of Population Health, The University of Western Australia, Crawley WA 6009, Australia.


This study explored the relationship between neighbourhood design and residents' fear of crime in new suburban housing developments. Self-report and objective data were collected as part of the RESIDential Environments (RESIDE) Project. A neighbourhood form index based on the planning and land-use characteristics that draw people into public space, facilitate pedestrian movement and ensure the presence of 'territorial guardians' was developed for each participant (n=1059) from objective environmental data. With each additional index attribute, the odds of being fearful reduced (trend test p value=0.001), and this persisted even after progressive adjustment for demographics, victimisation, collective efficacy and perceived problems. The findings support the notion that a more walkable neighbourhood is also a place, where residents feel safer, and provides further evidence endorsing a shift away from low density, curvilinear suburban developments towards more walkable communities with access to shops, parks and transit.

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