Pulling us apart? The association between fear of crime and social cohesion in South Africa
Fear of crime, like crime itself, is thought to be a factor that constrains efforts by government and non-state actors to promote socially cohesive communities and a caring society. As concerns have mounted over various aspects of the social fabric in South Africa, increasing policy attention has been directed at perceptions of safety and nation-building. In this study, we use nationally representative survey data to examine recent theoretical models on the link between fear of crime and social cohesion within communities. The results do not offer strong support for the hypothesis that higher fear of crime is associated with lower levels of social trust, neighbourhood ties and civic cohesion, although fear does have a moderate, adverse influence on attitudes towards law enforcement.