BBC Breakfast

August 2017

The report found that the most common worry amongst children between 10 and 17 is fear of crime.  I discussed how crime rates, including violent crime, have dropped significantly over the past twenty years but this has not been accompanied by a reduction in fear of crime.  I pointed out that people generally are not very good at working out the probability of negative events occurring and they rely on a series of heuristics including whether an event is vivid in their mind.  I talked about how the way we consume news these days, and social media, can affect this because they both rely heavily on image rather than text.  They make the images of the aftermath of crime very vivid indeed and influence how people think about the likelihood of certain crimes occurring.  Until relatively recently, news was heavily text based with more of an explanation of why things occurred rather than just focussing on the very visual consequences.  I suggested that parents need to talk more about crime to their children, to contextualise it, to talk about how to avoid becoming a victim of crime, and build self-efficacy, to make it less fearful for them.