Does it look safe? An eye tracking study into the visual aspects of fear of crime

Crosby, Freya and Hermens, Frouke (2018) Does it look safe? An eye tracking study into the visual aspects of fear of crime. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology . p. 174702181876920. ISSN 1747-0218

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Item Type:Article
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Studies of fear of crime often focus on demographic and social factors, but these can be difficult to change. Studies of visual aspects have suggested that features reflecting incivilities, such as litter, graffiti, and vandalism increase fear of crime, but methods often rely on participants actively mentioning such aspects, and more subtle, less conscious aspects may be overlooked. To address these concerns, the present study examined people’s eye movements while they judged scenes for safety. Forty current and former university students were asked to rate images of day-time and
night-time scenes of Lincoln, UK (where they studied) and Egham, UK (unfamiliar location) for safety, maintenance and familiarity, while their eye movements were recorded. Another twenty-five observers not from Lincoln or Egham rated the same images in an internet survey. Ratings showed a strong association between safety and maintenance and lower safety ratings for night-time scenes for both groups, in agreement with earlier findings. Eye movements of the Lincoln participants showed increased dwell times on buildings, houses, and vehicles during safety judgments, and increased dwell times on streets, pavements, and markers of incivilities for maintenance.
Results confirm that maintenance plays an important role in perceptions of safety, but eye movements suggest that observers also look for indicators of current or recent presence of people.

Keywords:Fear of crime, Visual cues, Eye tracking
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
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ID Code:31417
Deposited On:26 Mar 2018 14:07

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