Community context and perceived risk: perceptions of active shooter risk in Pennsylvania

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This study explored interconnections among perceived risk of an active shooter event occurring in the community, indicators of community vulnerability, and individual demographic traits. Individual-level data were obtained using an online survey of 668 adult Pennsylvania residents, selected to be representative of Pennsylvania demographics. Four subthemes of the Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) were used as proxy indicators of community vulnerability. Results indicated that higher levels of perceived risk were associated with lower income. There was limited evidence that Blacks and females had higher perceived risk than Whites and males, respectively. Community vulnerability was positively associated with perceived risk, most notably higher levels of community vulnerability related to minority population. Those with higher education had lower perceived risk than those with lower levels of education. Results support the minority threat hypothesis but differ somewhat from studies examining fear of crime more generally.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCrime Prevention and Community Safety
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Safety Research
  • Law


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