A study suggests that adolescents who have a healthy fear of crime are less apt to become victims and offenders of violent acts. "Essentially, fearful youth tend to avoid potentially dangerous people, locations and activities," said Chris Melde, an associate professor of criminal justice at Michigan State University.

During the study, over 1,600 youth from across the US, researchers found that respondents who reported a conscious fear about crime were less likely to be involved in violent acts such as assaults, robberies and gang fights.

"We should leave fear alone as a natural response to crime unless it reaches that chronic or phobic level. That is when you want to intervene," he noted. Instead of trying to reduce the fear, law enforcement agencies should focus on direct anti-crime initiatives and providing details on which crimes are most likely to occur and where, researchers suggested.

"If we are going to reduce crime and victimisation, we should present people with an accurate assessment of crime and delinquency in local areas," Melde emphasised.

The study appeared online in the journal Justice Quarterly.


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