FEELINGS OF SAFETY : Feelings of Safety In The Presence Of the Police, Security Guards and Police Volunteers
Abstract: Uniformed presences are thought to create feelings of safety in people. However, do different uniformed people contribute to the same amount of safety and are there differences dependent on the situation? The present study examined the association between various types of uniformed presence and people’s feelings of safety through a questionnaire among 352 respondents (18-86 years) (49.1 % women). The questionnaire contained pictures of relatively safe and unsafe situations with or without uniformed presence. The respondents estimated how safe they thought they would feel in these situations with and without two police officers, six police officers, a police car, two security guards, or two police volunteers. The results showed that uniformed presence does not increase feelings of safety in an already relatively safe situation, making patrol unnecessary. In relatively unsafe situations however, all types of uniformed presence increase feelings of safety. Foot patrolling police increased feelings of safety the most. Security guards and police volunteers created approximately the same amount of safety; making police volunteers a cost-effective alternative, although some situation, gender and age differences were found. All types of foot patrol were better than vehicle patrol (with some gender differences), making non-police groups an alternative to vehicle patrol.
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