A configurative synthesis of evidence for fear in the criminal decision-making process

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Abstract

This paper reviews what previous research has found on the role of fear and other associated feelings in the criminal decision-making process, and the techniques that might plausibly amplify such emotions so as to reduce or disrupt intent. To this aim, we conduct a systematic review of the offender decision-making literature (23 studies), incorporating a qualitative synthesis of the role of fear in the criminal decision-making process. The results section is formed of six parts based on dominant themes identified in our eligible studies, namely evidence of fear in offender decision-making, the presumed sources of fear, variation in levels and/or the effect of fear across offenders, the specific role of fear across aspects of the crime process (before, during, after), the results of fear and offender fear management processes. We conclude with a discussion of the implication for crime prevention policies.

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Fig. 1

Change history

  • 29 October 2019

    In the original publication of the article, the Acknowledgement section was missed. The Acknowledgement section should read as: <Emphasis Type="Bold">Acknowledgements</Emphasis> This research was funded by the Centre for Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI).

Notes

  1. 1.

    This was a decision of convenience and we recognise that even so-called spontaneous crimes can be thought to have rational elements consistent with the rational choice perspective.

  2. 2.

    PsycINFO, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, Sociological Abstracts and the National Criminal Justice Reference Service.

  3. 3.

    See: http://eppi.ioe.ac.uk/cms/Default.aspx?alias=eppi.ioe.ac.uk/cmsup/er4.

  4. 4.

    Meta-analysis is undertaken when there is comparable quantitative data available, which was not the case in the sample of studies synthesised here.

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Gill, P., Tompson, L., Marchment, Z. et al. A configurative synthesis of evidence for fear in the criminal decision-making process. Secur J 33, 583–601 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41284-019-00201-w

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Keywords

  • Offender decision-making
  • Fear
  • Systematic review
  • Configurative synthesis
  • Fear management