Academic journal article International Journal of Criminal Justice Sciences

Perceived Risk and Fear of Crime in Public Transport Nodes: The Experience from Nigerian Transit Environment

Academic journal article International Journal of Criminal Justice Sciences

Perceived Risk and Fear of Crime in Public Transport Nodes: The Experience from Nigerian Transit Environment

Article excerpt

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

Introduction

Being able to live in a safe environment is of high value to individual. Equally important is to have access to safe transportation. In a given environment, inhabitants move around between home and work and other daily activities either by foot, buses, trains and cars. Regardless of where they go, it has been noted that individuals are exposed to differentiated levels of risk of crime (Hägerstrand, 1972). Particularly, for those who use public transportation, individuals bundle their paths at specific points in urban space in the so-called 'public transport nodes'. Transport nodes are here defined as roads and those places along the road where people come together to embark or disembark on transportation in order to reach a new destination. Transport nodes therefore exist not only off a stop or station but also in the immediate surrounding environment. Transport nodes can be bus stops, rail stations or larger structures where several transportation modes come together, such as a central station (Ceccato, 2009). The use of the concept "transport node" however in this study is limited to the analysis of roads and bus stations along the roads.

Crime in public transport covers a wide range of offences that could occur in at least three different types of situation, namely: walking to, from or between transport facilities or stops (walking from departure point e.g. home to a taxi rank or back; from a taxi stop to a bus station; from a train station to destination point e.g. workplace or back); waiting at boarding points and facilities (e.g. taxi/bus stops, train/bus stations, modal interchanges etc.) and travelling on board a mode of transport such as a bus, train or taxi (Newton, 2004). The targets of crime also vary and could include crime itself (vandalism and fare evasion), employees (assaults on ticket collectors) and passengers (pick-pocketing, assault) (Smith & Clarke, 2000).

Fear of crime and perceived risk play an important role in commuter's decisions not to make use of certain types of public transport. Perceived risk is for the purpose of this study is defined as commuter's assessments of crime rates and the probability of victimization while fear relates to how vulnerable a commuter feels in transport environment. A number of studies highlight the impact of crime and the fear of crime on the use of public transport (Van der Reis 1980, 1997; Page et al, 2001). For example, in a study in Durban, Page et al (2001) found that one out of six of all the respondents making use of public transport had been a victim of crime. The most common types of crime experienced by the victims included pick-pocketing, bag snatching and jewellery theft, and in extreme instances few violent crimes such as assault, stabbings and rape had also been experienced. These incidents had all taken place in locations specifically associated with public transport such as train stations, taxi ranks, bus stops or modal interchanges, as well as on board trains and taxies (Page, et. al., 2001).

According to Uittenbogaard (2014), in the developing countries, fear of crime among commuters appears stronger and citizens feel less safe and are even afraid of using public transport. In the case of Nigeria, loss of lives on roads occasioned by crime and criminalities is on the increase and indeed worrisome (Omidiji & Ibitoye, 2010). The country has lost a good number of her productive populations to the incidences of crime on board public transportation, which most times result to road crashes (Agunloye, 1990). According to the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), road transits crime is on the increase as road travel represents about 65% percent of all passenger journeys in Nigeria. In 2008 for instance, about 4,944 deaths occurred in 9,114 road crashes with 17,390 persons injured as a result of criminal activities. Although, the industry is certainly striving to encourage potential passengers, crime on the Nigerian highways has recently emerged as a high profile priority requiring scrutiny. …

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