The role of police visibility in fear of crime in Finland

Satu Salmi (Department of Psychology, University of Turku, Turku, Finland)
Martti Grönroos (Department of Statistics, University of Turku, Turku, Finland)
Esko Keskinen (Department of Psychology, University of Turku, Turku, Finland)

Policing: An International Journal

ISSN: 1363-951X

Publication date: 1 December 2004


This article presents a model for police visibility and people's fear of crime. Survey data were collected from 3,245 adults and 977 teenagers in two typical Finnish neighborhoods. A four‐factor model including two visibility factors (patrol‐car‐related activities and police‐on‐foot activities) and two fear of crime factors (crimes against property and crimes against persons) was constructed by structural equation modeling. Respondents who perceived the police more often in on‐foot activities were less fearful of crimes against property. In the teenagers' group, the same effect was found in relation to crimes against persons. In both groups, seeing the police more in patrol‐car‐related activities resulted in increased fear of crimes against persons and property. Our results indicate that a simple act for the police, such as stepping out of the car every now and then, i.e. not only in crime‐related situations, has a positive impact on the fear of crime as expressed by the public.



Salmi, S., Grönroos, M. and Keskinen, E. (2004), "The role of police visibility in fear of crime in Finland", Policing: An International Journal, Vol. 27 No. 4, pp. 573-591.

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