Safe Haven or Dangerous Place? Stereotype Amplification and Americans’ Perceived Risk of Terrorism, Violent Street Crime, and Mass Shootings

People overestimate the risk of some events, such as terrorist attacks and immigrant crimes, but not of others. Stereotype amplification theory indicates that politicized, out-group stereotypes may be to blame. We examine Americans’ perceptions of the risk that different forms of violence—out-group,...

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Published in:The British journal of criminology
Main Author: Haner, Murat (Author)
Contributors: Cullen, Francis T. (Author); Pickett, Justin T.; Sloan, Melissa M.
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
Published: 2020
In:The British journal of criminology
Year: 2020, Volume: 60, Issue: 6, Pages: 1606–1626
Online Access: Volltext (Resolving-System)
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Summary:People overestimate the risk of some events, such as terrorist attacks and immigrant crimes, but not of others. Stereotype amplification theory indicates that politicized, out-group stereotypes may be to blame. We examine Americans’ perceptions of the risk that different forms of violence—out-group, in-group and non-racialized—will occur in their local communities. We hypothesize that negative stereotypes of immigrants and Muslims will increase the perceived risk of out-group violence but not of other forms of violence. Analyses of original survey data from a sample of 1,068 Americans reveal four findings: (1) most Americans accurately perceive home-grown violence to be more likely than violence by foreigners, (2) political identification and ideology strongly predict out-group stereotypes, (3) out-group stereotypes strongly predict the perceived risk of out-group violence but are not significantly associated with risk perceptions for other forms of violence and (4) vulnerability factors predict risk perceptions for all forms of violence.
ISSN:1464-3529
DOI:10.1093/bjc/azaa045