Towards a place-based measure of fear of crime: A systematic review of app-based and crowdsourcing approaches

Reka Solymosi, David Buil-Gil, Laura Vozmediano, Inês Sousa Guedes

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Few researches have considered fear of crime as a context-specific experience. This article promotes a place-based theoretical framework for studying crime perceptions through presenting app-based and crowdsourcing measures of perception of crime and place as a robust methodological framework. A systematic review of published studies that use crowdsourced or app-based measures to explore perceptions of crime was conducted. From the 27 studies that met our inclusion criteria, reported strengths and limitations were synthesized to determine key developments and common issues, illustrated with data from three app-based studies. We found consensus that app-based and crowdsourcing measures of fear of crime capture more precise spatial and temporal data alongside auxiliary information about the individual and the environment. Practical benefits, such as reduced cost of data collection and implementable outputs that are useful to practitioners were also highlighted. However, limitations around sampling biases, generalizability of findings, and the under-representation of certain areas persist.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1013-1044
Number of pages32
JournalEnvironment and Behavior
Issue number9
Early online date1 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • Crowdsourcing
  • GIS
  • environmental criminology
  • fear of crime
  • mapping
  • open data
  • perceived disorder
  • systematic review


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