If I were conducting a hypothetical social experiment at The Ohio State University on levels of perceived risk towards being a victim of crime, what would be a good hypothesis and what would be some expected results of the study?
Things to take into consideration: demographic variables, influence of media on crime perception, area of study (i.e. major in criminology may have lower levels of perceived risk towards crime), prior experience with victimization, etc.
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If I were doing a study like this, my main hypothesis would be that there would be a strong direct correlation between growing up in a suburban or rural environment and having a fear of being victimized. I would hypothesize that such people would perceive that there is a greater risk of fear on a campus in a relatively large city like Columbus. I must admit that sex is the variable that is most likely to have the strongest impact on fear of victimization. However, this seems like a given. It does not seem like it would be very interesting to do a study just to find a fact that seems so obvious. Therefore, my hypothesis would focus on the urban vs. non-urban split.
I would predict that people who grow up in cities will have a more realistic perception of the level of crime that occurs in a large metropolitan area. These people will realize that it is actually quite rare to be a crime victim. By contrast, people who have grown up in suburban or rural areas may have a stereotyped view of the city as a place that is dangerous and full of crime. Therefore, I would predict that people who were not raised in an urban environment will be more worried about being victimized.
As I mentioned, there will be other variables that will matter. Women will probably be more worried about victimization than men since they are generally less physically strong and are also more likely to worry about sexual assault. It is possible that whites will be more worried about victimization than blacks and Hispanics since they are more likely to have stereotyped views about the danger from non-whites in the urban setting. People who watch more news on TV (or who watch shows about crime) will be more likely to feel that crime is rampant than those who do not.
There will be many variables that will have an impact on the perceived risk of being victimized. However, I would hypothesize that the most important variable (outside of sex) would be the place where the respondent was raised.
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