Police Officers’ Fear of Crime: An Analysis of Interviews with Officers in Trinidad & Tobago


Research on fear of crime usually examines perceptions of civilians. Little has been said about police officers’ fear of crime, particularly in developing countries of the Global South, despite their occupational high risk of victimisation. The current study is an analysis of qualitative interview data collected from 12 male senior police officers in Trinidad and Tobago, with a focus on how they are affected by crime and navigate their roles as officers. The goal here is to contribute to Southern criminological dialogue about subjective appraisals of, and reactions to, crime by emphasising the experiences of civil servants mandated to address crime in the context of a postcolonial developing country. Analyses found that officers perceived that they and their family members were at high risk of criminal victimisation, were significantly worried or fearful about themselves or family members becoming victimised and often engaged in avoidance behavioural strategies to reduce risk of victimisation.

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Published: 2019-11-04
Pages:77 to 93
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How to Cite
Johnson, L. M., Watson, D. and Pino, N. W. (2019) “Police Officers’ Fear of Crime: An Analysis of Interviews with Officers in Trinidad & Tobago”, International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 8(4), pp. 77-93. doi: 10.5204/ijcjsd.v8i4.1204.

Author Biographies

Lee Michael Johnson is Chair of the Department of Behavioral Sciences at Purdue University Northwest in Indiana, USA and former Program Director of Criminology and Criminal Justice at William Paterson University in New Jersey, USA. He has researched and published journal articles and book chapters on topics in victimization and fear of crime, juvenile delinquency and justice, corrections, policing, and perceptions of criminal justice system effectiveness.

Danielle Watson is the coordinator of the Pacific Policing Programme at the University of the South Pacific, Fiji. She conducts research on police/civilian relations on the margins with particular interests in hotspot policing, police recruitment and training as well as many other areas specific to policing in developing country contexts.

Nathan W. Pino is Professor of Sociology and Honorary Professor of International Studies at Texas State University. He conducts research on the relationships between globalization, development, crime, and crime control, focusing on policing and police reform in an international context and various forms of violence. He is co-author of Globalization, Police Reform and Development: Doing it the Western Way? (Palgrave) and Rethinking Serial Murder, Spree Killing, and Atrocities: Beyond the Usual Distinctions (Routledge).