Crime, fear of crime, environment, and mental health and wellbeing: Mapping review of theories and causal pathways


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Abstract

This paper presents the findings from a review of the theoretical and empirical literature on the links between crime and fear of crime, the social and built environment, and health and wellbeing. A pragmatic approach was employed, with iterative stages of searching and synthesis. This produced a holistic causal framework of pathways to guide future research. The framework emphasises that crime and fear of crime may have substantial impacts on wellbeing, but the pathways are often highly indirect, mediated by environmental factors, difficult to disentangle and not always in the expected direction. The built environment, for example, may affect health via its impacts on health behaviours; via its effects on crime and fear of crime; or via the social environment. The framework also helps to identify unexpected factors which may affect intervention success, such as the risk of adverse effects from crime prevention interventions as a result of raising awareness of crime.

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