Feelings of Safety: Ironic Consequences of Police Patrolling

E. van de Veer, M.A. de Lange, E. van der Haar, J.C. Karremans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Increasing police patrolling is often assumed to be an effective means of enhancing general feelings of safety. This relationship between perceiving police and feelings of safety was tested by having police officers patrol during a field experiment (Study 1) and by manipulating the police presence in pictures of neighborhoods in a laboratory experiment (Study 2). Both studies show that in environments that are generally considered to be safe, feelings of safety are not increased by police presence. Moreover, men feel less safe when police are present compared with when police are absent. The results are discussed in terms of possible underlying mechanisms and implications for police patrolling.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3114-3125
JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • attention-grabbing power
  • automatic vigilance
  • social information
  • crime
  • fear
  • disorder

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