38 Citations (Scopus)


© 2016 Foster et al. Background: Numerous cross-sectional studies have investigated the premise that the perception of crime will cause residents to constrain their walking; however the findings to date are inconclusive. In contrast, few longitudinal or prospective studies have examined the impact of crime-related safety on residents walking behaviours. This study used longitudinal data to test whether there is a causal relationship between crime-related safety and walking in the local neighbourhood. Methods: Participants in the RESIDential Environments Project (RESIDE) in Perth, Australia, completed a questionnaire before moving to their new neighbourhood (n=1813) and again approximately one (n=1467), three (n=1230) and seven years (n=531) after relocating. Self-report measures included neighbourhood perceptions (modified NEWS items) and walking inside the neighbourhood (min/week). Objective built environmental measures were generated for each participant's 1600m neighbourhood at each time-point, and the count of crimes reported to police were generated at the suburb-level for the first three time-points only. The impact of crime-related safety on walking was examined in SAS using the Proc Mixed procedure (marginal repeated measures model with unrestricted variance pattern). Initial models controlled for demographics, time and self-selection, and subsequent models progressively adjusted for other built and social environment factors based on a social ecological model. Results: For every increase of one level on a five-point Likert scale in perceived safety from crime, total walking within the local neighbourhood increased by 18.0min/week (p=0.000). This relationship attenuated to an increase of 10.5min/week after accounting for other built and social environment factors, but remained significant (p=0.008). Further analyses examined transport and recreational walking separately. In the fully adjusted models, each increase in safety from crime was associated with a 7.0min/week increase in recreational walking (p=0
Original languageEnglish
Article number22
Pages (from-to)1-9
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2016


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