ABSTRACT

Among the social problems affecting societies during the past several decades, crime looms large, always staying near the top of the agenda of public concerns. Crime growth and economic development seem to be moving pari passu. Escalating crime in a period of prosperity puzzles criminologists (e.g. Young 1999). Yet, crime hits not only the highly industrialized, affluent countries but also the developing economies in eastern Europe, and large urban concentrations in South America and Africa, where many live under the poverty line. So it becomes a paradox that both affluence and poverty seem to breed high levels of victimization (van Dijk 1994). It is observed that ‘crime has moved from the rare, the abnormal, the offence of the marginal and the stranger, to a commonplace part of the texture of everyday life’ (Young 1999: 30). Or, in the words of Garland (1996: 446), crime has become a ‘normal social fact’. Consequently, fear of crime and anxiety about crime penetrate every nook and cranny of social life.