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Abstract

Most of the recent literature concerning the elderly and crime has been concentrated in the area of victimization. Such subjects as the elderly's vulnerability to crime, types of crimes committed against older members of the community, income level of the victims, and residential indicators, are some of the important variables that have been studied in order to better understand the patterns of crime as it affects older citizens.

Although it is believed that the foregoing factors are essential in order to gain knowledge which will inform us as to the nature of criminal victimization against the elderly, it also seems critical to discuss the effects of the fear of crime. This will permit further insight into such subject concerns as how the fear of criminal victimization relates to the life style of the aged, self perception, lack of control over their everyday life, and the feeling of possessing little political strength in attaining help through criminal justice programs to help eliminate their fears.

For the elderly, fear of crime is just one of many problems this age group has to contend with in their daily existence. Too often those who research and publish in the field of criminology tend to focus attention in research endeavors on victimization statistics without regard for the part that fear of criminal victimization plays as one of the many problems facing elderly people in our society. Those in the field of gerontology have recognized the importance of such problems for some time.

The issues this paper will attempt to address are: (1) the elderly's perception of the extent of crime, (2) their vulnerability to crime, (3) low income elderly as the majority of criminal victims among the older population, (4) and most importantly, the effects of the fear of crime as it relates to the everyday life style of older individuals. Further, it must be stated from the onset, that when crimes against the elderly are discussed, attention is being directed to that population of aged citizens who often reside in low income areas of cities. Therefore, as the limited research indicates, the elderly population in this country are viewed to be among the major recipients of crimes.

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