Table of Contents
Journal of Criminology
Volume 2013, Article ID 284259, 13 pages
Research Article

Integrating Information from Multiple Methods into the Analysis of Perceived Risk of Crime: The Role of Geo-Referenced Field Data and Mobile Methods

Department of Sociology, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey GU2 7XH, UK

Received 26 June 2013; Accepted 12 November 2013

Academic Editor: Augustine Joseph Kposowa

Copyright © 2013 Jane Fielding and Nigel Fielding. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper demonstrates the use of mixed methods discovery techniques to explore public perceptions of community safety and risk, using computational techniques that combine and integrate layers of information to reveal connections between community and place. Perceived vulnerability to crime is conceptualised using an etic/emic framework. The etic “outsider” viewpoint imposes its categorisation of vulnerability not only on areas (“crime hot spots” or “deprived neighbourhoods”) but also on socially constructed groupings of individuals (the “sick” or the “poor”) based on particular qualities considered relevant by the analyst. The range of qualities is often both narrow and shallow. The alternative, emic, “insider” perspective explores vulnerability based on the meanings held by the individuals informed by their lived experience. Using recorded crime data and Census-derived area classifications, we categorise an area in Southern England from an etic viewpoint. Mobile interviews with local residents and police community support officers and researcher-led environmental audits provide qualitative emic data. GIS software provides spatial context to analytically link both quantitative and qualitative data. We demonstrate how this approach reveals hidden sources of community resilience and produces findings that explicate low level social disorder and vandalism as turns in a “dialogue” of resistance against urbanisation and property development.