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Relationship between Gender and Feelings of Safety and Crime in Liverpool

Info: 2641 words (11 pages) Essay
Published: 7th Jun 2021 in Criminology

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Introduction:

This research study is attempting to investigate to what extent gender affects feeling of safety and fear of crime in Liverpool. The aim of the research is to identify the contributing factors to the feeling of safety and fear of crime, which should be highlighted throughout the interview process of two student participants. This is in order to relate to the overall effect to the student experience.

Section 1: Analytical approach justification and data analysis evidence – 1000 words

Analytical approach 500 words

A thematic analysis has been conducted in order to analyse the qualitative data collected from this research study. “Thematic analysis (TA) is a method for identifying, analyzing, and interpreting patterns of meaning (‘themes’) within qualitative data” (Clarke and Braun, 2017: pp. 297).

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 This analysis has been chosen as it is useful for summarising and organising large data sets, such as the interviews conducted, into themes.  Therefore, a clear report can be concluded (King 2004. Cited in Nowell et al., 2017). This analysis has numerous strengths, such as being flexible and accessible. It is praised in many pieces of literature for being flexible. It can be discussed as a “highly flexible approach that can be modified for the needs of many studies, providing rich and detailed, yet complex account of data” (Nowell et al., 2017: pp. 2). This is important as it allows data to be rigorously analysed, which can provide trustworthy and insightful findings (Nowell et al., 2017). Therefore, this can hopefully enable us to answer the question of whether gender affects feelings of safety or fear of crime. Another strength is that it focusses on “understanding people’s everyday experience of reality, in great detail, in order to gain an understanding of the phenomenon in question (McLeod, 2001. Cited in Braun and Clarke, 2006: pp. 80). Therefore, as previously mentioned the TA can be used to analyse large data sets, so this method of analysis takes into consider the phenomenon in question (feelings of safety or fear of crime in Liverpool) from a many individual’s perspectives. This is important as it makes the findings more generalisable and easier to extrapolate to outside the setting of the study and helps us understand the full extent of the phenomenon from real life experiences; indicating what contributes to feelings of safety or fear of crime.

Despite having many strengths, the TA does have some limitations. As previously praised for its flexibility, this can also be a limitation and prove to be a problem for new researchers (Attride-Sterling, 2001). This is due to it being “unbounded by theoretical commitments” (Braun and Clarke, 2017: pp. 297), so there is no real consensus on what a thematic analysis is and how to conduct one. Therefore, this can lead to inconsistencies within research and make it difficult when analysing or comparing other researchers work (Braun and Clarke, 2006). Due to the lack of rules in literature, it can create uncertainty but Nowell et al (2017) have attempted to amend this. Overall, the strengths do outweigh the limitations, explaining why it is a widely used tool for analysis. Due to the TA that was undertaken, it allowed for an in-depth review of data and created a simple way of comparing the results of the 2 interview studies, enabling us to clearly identify the important factors that contribute to the feelings of safety or fear of crime in Liverpool.

To analyse the data the phases by Braun and Clarke (2006) were followed. Once the interviews were conducted, the interviews were transcribed, so any patterns could be identified to create the initial codes. These codes were then combined into certain categories for further analysis, in order to create the themes. This allowed us to recognise the contributing factors to feelings of safety or fear of crime. The themes were defined and named, for example “familiarity”, which was highlighted in the interviews and will be discussed in the final report.

This research made consideration for achieving internal validity by ensuring that it was cross checked and verified amongst the research team and also the findings were compared with previous research, to ensure that the findings corresponded. (might need a reference try find out where this is from and or find a book online in the library). F and muir Cochrane maybe

Evidence of data analysis:

Themes:

Protection

Familiarity

Precautions

Interview B extract

Interviewer: so would you change your behaviour depending on where you are, whether you’re at home, or whether you’re in Liverpool city centre?

Participant B: yeah, erm like, say at home there is alleyways that I’ll walk down because, like, I know its residential people live there and there was anything to happen, you just scream and then people come out, whereas when you’re in town there’s like, if there’s a new area that I’m going to, say like I’m going to a shop I haven’t been to before, I follow google maps down to the T and won’t go down any like dark roads because you don’t know like what is going and like even like homeless people, there’s not homeless people in Kirby but like here in town they’re like on every corner and I tend to like stray away from them.

Interviewer: what so there’s a lot more and you would avoid them in the city centre, okay

Participant B: yeah

Interviewer: erm, so would you say you’re more fearful of crime in Liverpool than as opposed to being in Kirby?

Participant B: Yeah

Interviewer two: are there locations in Liverpool where you would feel more fearful of crime, so … dark alleyways for example as opposed to public streets?

Participant B: yeah like by round like concert square and that like say if I was in a big open space like down church street by like Primark and that and like I’ve been down their drunk before and it’s been fine cause it’s open, but like when you’re in like concert square and like seal street and theirs little side roads everywhere and that’s when you’re a little bit like on edge.

Interviewer 2: Yeah

Interviewer 1: Yeah

Interviewer 2: and do you feel more fearful when you are on your own as opposed to with others?

Participant B:  Yeah

Interviewer 2 Yeah, so is that a fear, like a feeling of there is safety in numbers sort of thing?

Participant B:   yeah defiantly, you have got each other’s backs like when you’re with your mates aren’t ya?

Interviewer 2: Yeah

Interviewer 1: do you know also like how you said when you would say on Church Street would you say you’re more feeling safe in them areas, like.

Participant B:  Yeah, I’d say like because there open and like there’s always people walking through and you’ve got like, if anyone was like you’ve got places to run, do you know what I mean like it’s just a massive open area whereas like, concert square there’s alleyways and like church street is like lit as well and most of concert square isn’t.

Interviewer 1: Yeah… So are there any precautions you would take in order to feel safe?

Participant B:  Emmm…. I’ve got a rape alarm, I carry that around Kirby I’ve got it in a certain bag that I bring to like uni and stuff... emmm… I wouldn’t like, in Kirby if I needed to go to the shop at midnight or something I’d just run round to the corner shop and it’d be fine whereas in town I wouldn’t even be out at midnight unless I was with people. Emmm…

Interviewer 1: Okay, so you would say you would avoid going out on your own, in town?

Participant B: Yeah

Section 2: Findings and discussion – 1,500 – 996 atm

The transcripts of the two interviews were analysed using a thematic analysis. This allowed us to identify the key themes that were discussed across the interviews by helping us to highlight what contributed to the feelings of safety or fear of crime in Liverpool. Braun and Clarke (2006) ‘six phase thematic analysis guide’ was utilised to analyse the data.

Theme one: Protection

The idea of protection was discussed heavily by both participants which stressed the importance of protection/ the idea of protection as a contributing factor to how safe they would feel or how fearful of crime they would be. Both participants suggested that the idea of protection comes from having people around to help (safety in numbers) if a crime was to happen.

“yeah defiantly, you have got each other’s backs like when you’re with your mates aren’t ya?”

“um, I think it’s the whole idea that when you’re in a group there’s that idea that there’s obviously more than one of you so there’s more than one person to be able to like get involved, like if you’re on your own like you’re kinda screwed  cos it’s like well it’s me and them that’s it like there’s no, do you know what I mean like if you’re in a group you just feel safer, like safety in numbers and all that”

Here both the participants refer to the idea of having friends/ people with them as a sense of protection, which would increase their feelings of safety within Liverpool.

“yeah, I feel like cos well I guess it depends on where you stay but like in like Grand Central there was like security downstairs so like ok they might not be the best security but like there’s the idea that because you’re with so many people and there’s like less chances of it, just like when you’re in a house on your own like you’d probably be more scared like burglary but like because you’re in like uni accommodation you don’t really tend to worry about it like at all really”

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Here participant A is referring to the idea that if you aren’t at risk of being a personal victim of a crime; it increases the feelings of safety. In the quote, it states that their student accommodation has security and because there are so many people in the buildings, so they don’t worry about crime occurring which would suggest feelings of safety.

Theme two: familiarity (of surroundings)

Across both interviews the idea of having a knowledge of an area/ surroundings was heavily stressed by both participants. This related to the idea that if they knew the area, they would feel more comfortable and hence feel safer, as opposed to not knowing the area entirely which would increase their fear of crime.

“at home there is alleyways that I’ll walk down because, like, I know its residential people live there and there was anything to happen, you just scream and then people come out, whereas when you’re in town there’s like, if there’s a new area that I’m going to, say like I’m going to a shop I haven’t been to before, I follow google maps down to the T and won’t go down any like dark roads because you don’t know like what is going and like even like homeless people, there’s not homeless people in Kirby but like here in town they’re like on every corner and I tend to like stray away from them.”

“at home I’m probably a bit more comfortable than I am here”

“I think I probably would be more comfortable walking home alone at home just because I’m well aware of the area I know which roads to necessarily not go down cos I’ve obviously like grown up there and know everything about that area um but not yeah no”

Here both participants that do not originally originate from Liverpool discuss the idea that when they’re at ‘home’ their feelings of safety increase as they are more comfortable with the area and surroundings so don’t fear that crime will occur. This could be because they haven’t had any negative experiences in that area which would suggest that it is safe and there is essentially no need to fear crime but as Liverpool is an unknown area or they don’t know it as well as at home, they are consequently more cautious.

Theme three: precautions

This theme wasn’t as heavily stressed as the others but both participants stated that they take precautions, so that they do not become victims of crime. This supports the idea that there is some degree of fear of crime from both participants, in Liverpool. Participant A even referred to the precautions as ‘obvious’ precautions, suggesting that some of these precautions have become unconscious motives due to their underlying fear/ awareness of crime in Liverpool. Also, due to the participant suggesting that they are ‘obvious’, suggests that they believe it is the norm suggesting that other people probably take precautions in their everyday life to avoid becoming a victim of crime, suggesting that crime is a prolific issue in Liverpool.

“I’ve got arape alarm,I carry that around Kirby I’ve got it in a certain bag that I bring to like uni and stuff”

“I mean apart from like the obvious ones of like try not walk home on your own and like just like do you know what I mean, the obvious”

Conclusion:

In conclusion, the findings of this study in relation to the feelings of safety and fear of crime in Liverpool has concluded that there are various contributing factors to an individual’s feeling of safety or fear of crime in Liverpool. From looking at the themes that have become apparent in relation to the thematic analysis, it can be concluded that protection, familiarity (of surroundings) and the use of precautions, can influence an individual’s feeling of safety or fear of crime in Liverpool. Also, it is important to note that it has been established that both these participants experience feelings of safety and have a fear of crime in certain situations but there is no significant difference in feelings of safety and fear of crime and gender.

This is because – why are these factors important?

The data has suggested that the key factor in influencing the feelings of safety and fear of crime in Liverpool is fACTOR but they all play an important part.

Finally, in relation to previous research, the findings here confirm/ conflict with the previous findings.

e.g. - In accordance to Morosanu (2010) and Krause and Coates (2008) …The importance of factor can not be underestimated when focussing on the feelings of safety/ fear of c in liv.

However, one interesting point in this data collection is that these ppts didn’t identify such a factor as important which many other researchers have identified in their previous research such as research

Therefore, more research needs to be conducted in order to establish and answer the ultimate question of whether there is a relationship between gender and feelings of safety and fear of crime in Liverpool.

References:

Attride-Stirling, J. (2001) Thematic networks: An analytic tool for qualitative research, Qualitative Research, 1: 385–405.

Braun, V. & Clarke, V. (2006) Using Thematic Analysis in Psychology, Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3: 77–101.

Braun, V. & Clarke, V. (2017). Thematic Analysis, The Journal of Positive Psychology Dedicated to furthering research and promoting good practice, 12:3, 297-298.

Nowell, L., Norris, J., White, D. and Moules, N. (2017) Thematic Analysis: Striving to Meet the Trustworthiness Criteria, International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 16: 1-13.

 

 

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