American Journal of Criminal Justice

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 7–22 | Cite as

Crime in the streets — A moral panic: Understanding “get tough” policies in the criminal justice system

  • Melissa Hickman


There is more to the crisis of violent crime in the streets than simply citizens being increasingly victimized, becoming alarmed and demanding that public officials do something about it. The. fear of crime, a central theme in diologue surrounding the movement toward “tough on crime” legislation, may exceed by far the actual threat which exists. preliminary eviddnce suggests that indeed a “moral panic” has developed around violent crime in the united States — a “panic” which cannot be explained by dramatic increases in the crime rate. A social structural explanation is required if this lack of fit between the fear of crime and the crime rate is to be understood.


Criminal Justice Criminal Justice System Crime Rate Violent Crime Victimization Survey 
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Copyright information

© Springer New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melissa Hickman

There are no affiliations available

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