Fear of crime

The main facts and figures show that:

  • in 2015/16, around one-fifth of people aged 16 and over in England and Wales believed that they were either ‘very likely’ or ‘fairly likely’ to be a victim of crime in the next year

  • overall, the figures for fear of crime have remained consistent between 2013/14 and 2015/16

  • in 2015/16, a smaller proportion of White people reported a fear of crime compared with Asian people, Black people, and those from the Other ethnic group

  • Asian people and those from the Other ethnic group had the highest levels of fear of crime

Things you need to know

These figures are based on the annual Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW).

The CSEW is a face-to-face survey in which people aged 16 or over living in England and Wales are asked about their experiences of a selected range of criminal offences in the previous 12 months.

The CSEW is able to capture a broad range of victim-based crimes experienced by those interviewed, not just those that have been reported to (and recorded by) the police. However, some offences such as homicide and sexual offences are not included in its main estimates.

Since October 2015, the survey has included fraud and computer misuse. However, as data from before this point is not available, the statistics and commentary presented here exclude fraud and computer misuse offences.

Keep in mind when making comparisons between ethnic groups that all survey estimates are subject to a degree of uncertainty. This is because they are based on a sample of the population. The degree of uncertainty is greater when the number of respondents is small, so it will be highest for ethnic minority groups.

Estimates based on fewer than 50 responses are excluded, as they are considered less reliable.

To increase the reliability of the data when broken down by gender, age group and socio-economic group, the ONS combines data for each year into a 3-year average.

These statistics are estimates based on the sample of people who took part in the survey, and may not reflect the whole population. You should therefore use caution when interpreting them.

The CSEW does not include:

  • people living in communal establishments (such as care homes, student halls of residence and prisons):
  • crimes against commercial or public sector bodies
What the data measures

This data measures fear of crime among people living in England and Wales, and breaks this figure down by ethnicity. The data is based on responses to the annual Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW).

Survey respondents were asked ‘How likely do you think you personally are to be a victim of crime in the next year?’ and given a choice of 4 responses ranging from ‘very unlikely’ to ‘very likely’.

Respondents who answered ‘very likely’ or ‘fairly likely’ were classed as having a fear of crime.

Survey respondents included both victims and non-victims of crime.

The ethnic categories used in this data

Where possible, this data is broken down by the 18 ethnic categories listed in the 2011 Census. There's a separate category for respondents whose ethnicity wasn't known.

The 2011 Census categories are as follows:

White:

  • English/ Welsh/ Scottish/ Northern Irish/ British
  • Irish
  • Gypsy, Traveller or Irish Traveller
  • Any other White background

Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups:

  • White and Black Caribbean
  • White and Black African
  • White and Asian
  • Any other Mixed/ Multiple ethnic background

Asian/Asian British:

  • Indian
  • Pakistani
  • Bangladeshi
  • Chinese
  • Any other Asian background

Black/African/Caribbean/Black British:

  • African
  • Caribbean
  • Any other Black/African/Caribbean background

Other ethnic group:

  • Arab
  • Any other ethnic group

To analyse the data by gender, age group and socio-economic group, the Office for National Statistics uses the following 5 broad ethnic categories:

  • Asian / Asian British
  • Black / African / Caribbean / Black British
  • Mixed / Multiple ethnic groups
  • White
  • Other ethnic group

Ethnic groups and how data on ethnicity is collected

Fear of crime by ethnicity over time

Percentage and number of people who had a fear of crime by ethnicity over time

2013/14 2014/15 2015/16
Ethnicity % Number % Number % Number
All 19 34,684 19 32,702 19 34,566
Asian 31 1,766 28 1,578 27 1,712
Bangladeshi 34 132 29 119 31 130
Chinese 15 165 19 131 16 166
Indian 33 744 29 642 27 694
Pakistani 35 388 27 375 30 400
Asian other 29 337 30 311 26 322
Black 27 918 24 875 26 854
Black African 23 542 22 509 25 504
Black Caribbean 32 331 26 309 28 292
Black other withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 45 26 57 28 58
Mixed 29 329 20 303 21 359
Mixed White/Asian 33 77 18 88 21 93
Mixed White/Black African withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 45 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 45 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 43
Mixed White/Black Caribbean 25 119 21 97 18 133
Mixed other 25 88 27 73 26 90
White 18 31,414 17 29,681 18 31,352
White British 18 29,565 17 27,990 18 29,458
White Irish 21 316 17 295 20 280
White Gypsy/Traveller withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 12 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 10 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 15
White other 20 1,521 19 1,386 21 1,599
Other 25 229 26 223 27 235
Arab 21 86 25 79 30 84
Any other 27 143 26 144 25 151

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • in 2015/16, almost a third of Bangladeshi people had a fear of crime, a higher proportion than that of people in the White British, White Irish, Other White, Mixed White and Black Caribbean, and Chinese ethnic groups – sample sizes are too small to draw firm conclusions for the remaining ethnic groups

  • White British people reported a lower fear of crime than all Asian ethnic groups except for Chinese people

  • the Indian ethnic group saw a change in levels of fear of crime, with the proportion expressing fear falling from 33% in 2013/14 to 27% in 2015/16

  • although the table and chart show differences in the levels of fear of crime over time for various ethnic groups, sample sizes for these groups are small, so any generalisations based on the results are very unreliable

Fear of crime by ethnicity and gender

Percentage and number of people who had a fear of crime by ethnicity and gender

All Male Female
Ethnicity % Number % Number % Number
Asian 29 5,056 28 2,528 30 2,528
Black 26 2,647 23 1,118 28 1,529
Mixed 23 991 23 411 23 580
White 18 92,447 18 42,015 18 50,432
Other 26 687 26 360 27 327

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

When the most recent 3 years' data is combined, it shows that:

  • men within the White, Mixed, Asian and Other ethnic groups shared a similar fear of crime with women of the same ethnicity

  • among Black people, men feared crime less than women

  • both White men and White women were less likely to fear crime than men and women from Black, Mixed, Asian or Other ethnic groups

Fear of crime by ethnicity and age group

Percentage and number of people who had a fear of crime by ethnicity and age group

Asian Black Mixed White Other
Age group % Number % Number % Number % Number % Number
16-24 24 563 20 282 23 207 18 6,470 20 85
25-34 28 1,327 24 518 20 250 20 12,492 25 172
35-44 31 1,414 25 698 25 221 22 13,988 31 189
45-54 31 775 32 598 26 156 20 15,879 30 109
55-64 35 513 28 271 29 70 19 15,444 24 63
65-74 28 329 34 152 21 61 15 15,539 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 41
75+ 27 135 14 128 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 26 9 12,635 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 28

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

When the most recent 3 years' data is combined, it shows that:

  • for the 16 to 24 age group, there was no difference in fear of crime between White people and those from other ethnic groups, with the exception of Asian 16 to 24 year olds, who were more likely to fear crime

  • the biggest difference in fear of crime between different ethnic groups was found in the two oldest age groups – for example, 34% of Black people aged 65 to 74 expressed a fear of crime compared with 15% of White people in the same age group

  • 9% of White people aged 75 and over feared crime, compared with 27% of Asian people in the same age group

  • in all age groups, Asian people were more likely to fear crime than White people

Fear of crime by ethnicity and socio-economic group

Percentage and number of people who had a fear of crime by ethnicity and socio-economic status

Asian Black Mixed White Other
Socio-economic group % Number % Number % Number % Number % Number
Managerial and professional occupations 28 1,618 26 778 21 332 17 31,910 28 195
Intermediate occupations 34 1,035 27 447 24 195 19 21,907 25 124
Routine and manual occupations 30 1,389 28 954 23 304 19 32,943 23 167
Never worked and long-term unemployed 26 556 19 226 30 55 20 2,758 34 97
Full time students 23 418 22 221 25 101 15 2,442 22 102
Not classified withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 40 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 21 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 4 17 487 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 2

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

When the most recent 3 years' data is combined, it shows that:

  • people in managerial and professional jobs and full-time students were generally less fearful of crime than those in other occupations

  • within the managerial and professional category, White people were less likely to fear crime than people from most other ethnic groups

  • unemployed White adults were less fearful of crime than unemployed people from the Asian and Other ethnic groups

Methodology

Methodology

CSEW estimates are based on analysis of structured face-to-face interviews carried out using computer-assisted personal interviewing (CAPI). In 2015/16, the response rate was 72%.

The CSEW is a household sample survey and, as such, estimates are based on a representative sample of the population of England and Wales aged 16 and over. A sample, as used in the CSEW, is a small-scale representation of the population from which it is drawn.

Weighting:

Weighting is used to adjust the results of a survey to make them representative of the population and improve their accuracy.

For example, a survey which contains 25% women and 75% men will not accurately reflect the views of the general population, which we know has an even 50/50 split.

Statisticians rebalance or ‘weight’ the survey results to more accurately represent the general population. This helps to make them more reliable.

Survey weights are usually applied to make sure the survey sample has broadly the same gender, age, ethnic and geographic make up as the general population.

The CSEW collects information from approximately 35,000 households each year. Since those responses reflect only a fraction of the total population of England and Wales, a process is used to give different weights to different households and individuals based on their sex, age and region, in such a way that the weighted distribution of responding household and individuals in these households matches the known distribution in the population as a whole.

First, weights are applied to the raw data to compensate for:

  • unequal address selection probabilities (given, some areas are more populated than others)
  • the observed variation in response rates between different types of neighbourhood
  • situations in which only one dwelling unit can be selected in multiple ‘dwelling unit' households
  • different probabilities of a respondent being selected based on different sized households

Second, calibration weighting is used to make adjustments for known differentials in response rates between different regions and between different age by six sub-groups.

Socio-economic groups:

The National Statistics Socio-economic Classification (NS-SEC) categorises members of the adult public in the UK according to their occupational status.

The NS-SEC categories are:

  • managerial and professional occupations
  • intermediate occupations (clerical, sales, service)
  • routine and manual occupations
  • never worked and long-term unemployed
  • full-time students
  • not classified

Suppression rules and disclosure control

Estimates from the Crime Survey for England and Wales have National Statistics status.

National Statistics are a subset of official statistics which have been certified by the UK Statistics Authority as compliant with its Code of Practice for Official Statistics, including requirements on disclosure control.

Estimates based on a number of respondents (known as the 'unweighted base') that is less than 50 are suppressed as these estimates are deemed to be less reliable.

Rounding

Estimates in the charts and tables are given to the nearest whole number.

You can see more detailed estimates (rounded to 1 decimal place) if you download the data.

Further technical information

Since the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) is based on a sample of the population, estimates have a margin of quantifiable and non-quantifiable error associated with them.

Non-quantifiable error includes:

  • when respondents have recalled crimes in the reference period that actually occurred outside that period
  • crimes that did occur in the reference period that were not mentioned at all (either because respondents failed to recall a fairly trivial incident or, conversely, because they did not want to disclose an incident, such as a domestic assault)
  • respondents saying they reported crimes to police when they did not (a “socially desirable” response)
  • some incidents reported during the interview being miscoded (‘interviewer or coder error’)

Data sources

Source

Type of data

Survey data

Type of statistic

National Statistics

Publisher

Home Office

Publication frequency

Yearly

Purpose of data source

The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) is used alongside crime data recorded by police to provide government with information about the extent and nature of crime in England and Wales.

The survey records all types of crimes experienced by people, including those crimes that may not have been reported to the police.

Download the data

Fear of crime - Spreadsheet (csv) 97 KB

This file contains the following: ethnicity, year, geography, gender, socio-economic status, value, denominator