There have been a number of reports in different media suggesting that in many incidents of crime, the victims have had a common factor, them being members of the social group of the elderly people (Casciani, 2003. Ferraro, 1995). Here, what we exactly mean by the word elderly is the people who belong to the age group of 60 years and above (Bureau of Elder and Adult Services Policy Manual, 1997). Fear of crime is defined as “an emotional response of dread or anxiety to crime or symbols that a person associates with a crime,” by Ferraro (1995, 8), while, Snell (2001,18) has defined this concept as “judgment of personal safety in the neighborhood.”
Elchardus, De Groof, and Smits (2005) have argued that there are two major patterns in the way humans feel fear of crime. These are a rationalistic view and a symbolic view (De Groof and Smits, 2005). Donder, Verte, &. Messelis (2005, 363-376) have further explained that, “the rationalistic paradigm interprets fear as a consequence of risk and vulnerability with regard to crime and victimization”. The symbolic paradigm is an interpretation of fear of crime as a “consequence of more general feelings of vulnerability and dissatisfaction that become feelings of being threatened of crime and victimization” (Donder, Verte, &. Messelis, 2005). Over the years, authors like Baumer and Skogan and Maxfield (2005) have also tried to define this phenomenon and concluded that fear of crime can be divided into three main factors. These include:
a) The impact of demographic variables like the physical aspects and the social aspects, b) the neighborhood which has an impact on the feeling of being threatened, and c) a major influence from the information received from victims of crime and also from acquaintances. (This could be from any media). ( as quoted by Donder, Verte, &. Messelis, 2005)
A few elderly people who ventured out into .the street recently were reported to have been subjected to verbal abuse and muggings (Casciani, 2003).