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ANSA McAl Psychological Research Centre

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RDI Fund Project: Crime Victimisation and Fear of Crime Survey in Trinidad and Tobago

Through a grant from the UWI-Trinidad and Tobago Research and Development Impact Fund, as well as support and funding provided by the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS), Professor Derek Chadee undertook the first nationwide survey on crime victimisation and fear of crime. This project provided a benchmark of crime victimisation, an estimation of the “dark figure” of crime (i.e. crimes that are unreported to the authorities), and an in-depth assessment of fear of crime in Trinidad and Tobago. It was designed to facilitate comparisons over time and across countries.

The ANSA McAL Psychological Research Centre was responsible for implementing and managing the data collection phase of the CVFCS, from January to May 2015. Staff at the Centre recruited, trained, and supervised the day to day tasks of field interviewers as they collected data from persons in over 350 Enumeration Districts nationwide. A proportionate sample of 3303 adults was surveyed across all municipalities.

Data analysis and report writing for this project was also conducted by the Centre. This was followed by presentations of findings and recommendations for policy implementation and amendment to the TTPS and other stakeholders during a number of engagements in both Trinidad and Tobago.

 

Copycat Behaviour

Undertaken in collaboration with Professor Ray Surette of the University of Central Florida, this study was the first of its kind to utilise an adult sample. This project examined the cognitive processing of information, levels of empathy and copycat behaviour among juveniles in high and low risk institutions. An article on this research was published in an American Psychological Association (APA) journal in 2015.

 

The Impact of Emotion Modulation on Psychological Reactance

Emerging literature points to the importance of psychological states in the construction and maintenance of the fear of criminal victimisation (Chadee & Ng Ying, 2013). Given that general fear has been meaningfully linked to fear of crime (Chadee & Ng Ying, 2013), it is worth considering whether general sensitivity to the experience of emotions propels the cognitive - affective nature of fear of crime. Emotional reactivity – or the intensity of individuals’ response to a wide array of stimuli, and with high levels of intensity (Nock, Wedig, Homberg, & Hooley, 2008) – is explored as a predictive factor in a revisited model of fear of crime. The mediating role of personality is also considered as part of the on-going analysis on this data. A manuscript is currently being prepared for submission.

 

The Social and Psychological Context of Fear of Crime

Data from the CVFCS are being further analysed in an attempt to improve understanding of the social and psychological factors related to fear of crime and crime victimisation in Trinidad and Tobago. Academic papers on community concerns and fear of crime, general health and fear of crime, and the emotional impact of victimisation are currently being prepared.

 

Time Perspective and Personality and Perceptions of Victimisation

This research assesses individual differences in the understanding of perceptions of risk and victimisation. The personality variables assessed are time perspective – Past (Positive and Negative), Present (Hedonistic and Fatalistic), and Future Time Perspective.

Also examined are the model of vulnerability to explain responses to criminal victimisation, and the “big five” personality characteristics – extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness – in relation to global fear and rational calculations of risk. 

 

Media Representation of Crime

The media greatly influence the public’s perceptions on issues related to crime. An important source of information, description of events, explanations, and interpretations, the media often capture the imaginations of their readers rather than just the facts. This study is undertaking a content analysis of crime reports on the daily newspapers for the period January 1st 2003 to December 31st 2015. Data from crimes reported to the police during the content analysis period will also be assessed and compared to what was reported in the media.