This article discusses the interim findings from a research project carried out by the Wirral Joint Community Safety Team (WJCST) that has sought to measure residents' fear of crime prior to the implementation of an ‘alley gating’ target‐hardening project in a local authority ward in Wirral, Merseyside. The main determinant of fear for residents in this sample has been housing tenure, which may be a more reliable indicator for fear of crime than age or gender as cited in previous studies. This study found that those who reside in the private rented sector express more concern for safety issues and crime than those who are owner‐occupiers or rent from registered social landlords. The hypotheses are that within housing tenure, the two key variables are length of residence in the community and financial resources to fund security measures. These are probably the main causal factors for a higher margin of fear for private renters.
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