When fear of crime became a significant political issue in the United States in the 1970s and 1980s, reducing fear soon became a police objective. This situation helped spur the development of community policing in the 1980s and 1990s. However, the importance of fear of crime within the explicit missions of most police departments has waxed and waned over the past 20 to 30 years. Many police departments give lip service to reducing fear, but relatively few can actually point to activities specifically targeted at fear reduction, and fewer still measure fear of crime in a thorough and systematic manner.

One of the reasons that fear of crime is important is that it affects communities negatively. If parents prohibit their children from playing in a park ...

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