Americans' worry about 11 different crimes generally stable since 2001
Slightly less worry now about home burglary and terrorism
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Three in 10 Americans are afraid to walk alone at night
in an area within a mile of where they live. This ties the lowest level
of concern since Gallup first asked this question in 1965 and is substantially
below the high point of 48% recorded in 1982.
The average level of worry about walking alone at night since 1965 is 38%.
This year's 30% worry level matches the previous low reading in October
2001. At that time, about a month after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Americans
may have felt safer from conventional crime and a bit more positive about
local public safety efforts, or perhaps less willing to admit fear.
Americans were most likely to express worry about walking alone at night
from 1972 to 1993 -- when 40% or more of U.S. adults consistently said
they were worried, including the 48% high point in 1982. Concern began
to fade in the mid-1990s and has not exceeded 40% since 1993. The drop
in worry about walking alone since the early 1990s is coincident with
national crime statistics indicating that U.S. crime rates have fallen
since the early 1990s.
historically been the case, 18- to 29-year-olds, those with lower incomes, nonwhites and those living
in big cities are most likely to fear walking alone at night near their home.
Some of the changes over time in worry about walking near home could reflect
shifts in where people live or demographic changes in the population. Previous
Gallup analysis has also shown that perceptions of safety near one's home can vary
independently of views of the local crime rate.
About Four in 10 in Recent Years Worry About Home, Car Being Burglarized
Americans' levels of worry about a list of 11 crimes Gallup has tracked
since 2001 have generally been stable, with these exceptions:
Concern about being the victim of terrorism has dropped from 41% between
2001 and 2004 to 30% currently.
About four in 10 are now worried about having their home burglarized when
they are not there, down from 47% from 2005 to 2013; and there has been
a similar drop in worry about one's home being burglarized when its
occupants are there.
Worry about being attacked while driving one's car, currently 20%,
is lower in recent years than in the initial, 2001-2004, time period,
when 25% worried about this occurring.
Otherwise, Americans' worry levels across this crime list have been
quite constant over the past 16 years.
Americans continue to express the highest levels of concern about burglary
when not home and car theft, and are least worried about sexual assault
and being assaulted or killed by a coworker.
How often do you, yourself, worry about the following?
% Frequently or occasionally
Your home being burglarized when you are not there
Having your car stolen or broken into
Having a school-aged child of yours physically harmed while attending school
Being a victim of terrorism
Your home being burglarized when you are there
Being the victim of a hate crime
Being attacked while driving your car
Being sexually assaulted
Being assaulted or killed by a coworker or other employee where you work
The public's concern about crime can be summarized by averaging each
year's worry levels across the 11 crimes. The 23% average worry this
year and in 2015 is slightly lower than in previous years, but the shifts
over time on these averages are not substantial.
In recent years, Gallup has measured worry about cybercrimes, and -- not
surprisingly -- concern about these crimes is high relative to the 11
more traditional crimes tracked over the longer period of time. A forthcoming
story on gallup.com will examine these cybercrime results in detail.
Despite their levels of worry, Americans are very unlikely to report that
they have actually been the victim of traditional crimes (excluding cybercrimes). About one in 10 say that within the last year, they or someone in their
household has had money or property stolen, or had their home, car or
other property vandalized. Very small percentages report having been a
victim of the other crimes measured.
Americans in recent years show no signs of becoming more concerned about
any of a list of various crimes, and are actually less worried about walking
alone in their neighborhood at night and being a victim of a home burglary
or of terrorism than at most previous points in time.
Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted
Oct. 5-11, 2017, with a random sample of 1,028 adults, aged 18 and older,
living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results
based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error
is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported
margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.
Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 70% cellphone
respondents and 30% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas
by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are
selected using random-digit-dial methods.