In (Batra, 2008; Law, 2006; So¨nmez et al.,

In the classic works on tourist typologies by
Cohen (1972) and Plog (1974), risk attitude was referenced unintentionally. In
tourism, risk was defined as what is perceived and experienced by the tourists
during the process of purchasing and consuming traveling services and at the
destination (Tsaur, Tzeng, and Wang 1997). Risk has been identified as
international tourist’s major concern (Yavas 1990). It has become existing
trend in researches about tourism (Bianchi, 2006; Dickson and Dolnicar, 2004;
Fuchs and Reichel, 2006; Kim and Gu, 2004; Korstanje, 2011; Law, 2006; Lepp and
Gibson, 2003; Pizam et al., 2004; Quintal et al., 2010; Reisinger and Mavondo,
2005; Simpson and Siguaw, 2008; Williams and Bala´z?, 2013). Perception of risk
in tourism were different, it depends on tourists’ characteristics. Tourists
perceived risk will affect tourists travel decisions such as destination
selection and itinerary planning in a positive way or otherwise. The several
existing studies has generally agreed that tourists likely to avoid
destinations with greater perceived risks (Batra, 2008; Law, 2006; So¨nmez et
al., 1999), although few number of studies have found that some tourists would
intentionally wanted to participate in risky activities and visit risky
destinations for fulfil their excitement (Dickson and Dolnicar, 2004; Fuchs et
al., 2013; Mura and Khoo-Lattimore, 2011). The review has also
identifies a unique group of tourists who are attracted to locations and
destinations associated with risk. Bello and Etzel (1985) suggest that the
excitement of traveling to a risky location is linked to a person’s lifestyle. Thus,
risk being a motivating factor for destination selection for them (Fuchs &
Reichel, 2011), rather than a limitation. Nonetheless, Cater (2006) argues that
adventure-seeking tourists desire the thrill of the experience, not the actual
risk.

          
Risk is a subjective concept which varies across space and time (Green
and Singleton, 2006; Lupton, 1999). According to Dickson and Dolnicar, (2004) risk
in tourism can be categorized into four groups, such as absolute risk, actual
risk, desired risk, and perceived risk. However, perceived risk is studied
frequently in the field of tourism because it is practically impossible to
measure the exact scale and actual range of risk (Bentley et al., 2001). Risk
perception is a fluid concept which is subject to tourists’ roles (Cohen, 1972;
Gibson and Yiannakis, 2002) and personalities (Plog, 1974). However, according
to Haddock’s (1993) perceived risk is the subjective evaluation of potential
threats and dangers with the existence of safety controls. Roehl
and Fesenmaier (1992) has discussed three dimensions of perceived risk, such as
physical equipment risk, vacation risk, and destination- specific risk. Moreover,
Simpson and Siguaw (2008) has identified 10 types of travel-specific risks,
which consists of health and well-being, criminal harm, transportation
performance, travel service performance, travel and destination environment,
generalized fears, monetary concerns, property crime, concern for others, and
concern about others from respondents’ or tourists self-reported risk
perception. Meanwhile, Pennington-Gray and Schroeder’s (2013) examines the international
tourists’ perception of safety and security and suggested seven categories of
travel risks, which include crime, disease, physical, equipment failure,
weather, cultural barriers, and political crises. (Pizam, A., 2002; Wang, Y.S.,
2009) showing that this crisis has a significant negative relationship with the
number of tourist arrivals. This study focuses on the risk perception of
tourists on crime in Malaysia.

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In addition, the existing literature has largely perceived that safety
and security risks are the most important concerns as tourists are concerned
(Floyd et al., 2004; Lepp and Gibson, 2003).  According to Goodrich, J.N. and Pizam, A.,
(2002) the negative tourist destination image were formed due to the lack of
safety concerns in the destination and may harm the development of the tourism
industry. The safety perception of tourists may be shaped by the media (Pforr,
C. and P.J. Hosie, 2008). The news reported in the media could attract tourists
and local people consciousness to the crime event. It could affect the image of
the destination perceived by tourists from the reports in the media. For
example, the report by The Malaysian Insider (2014) which includes
the pictures of the incident in Sabah, which a china tourist was kidnaped by a
group of unidentified gunmen were spread like wildfire on the social media. The
power of social media in spreading bad news to the world has increased the
international tourist re-evaluating destination when traveling to Malaysia. In
conclusion, a crime or unfavorable incidents can negatively affects tourists
choice in selecting vacation destination.

           Fuchs & Reichel, (2011) has
covered tourists’ perceptions of risk that are associated with country-specific
reasons in a very clear manner. For example, riskier countries which includes
locations where tourists perceive has a greater likelihood of terrorist attack,
criminal activity, national disasters, and spread of disease (Chen, Chen, &
Lee, 2009; Fuchs & Reichel, 2011). Due to reports from news media, social
media, and government websites, most international tourists are aware of the
degree of risk in that particular country connected with their destination
selection, but travelers have a variety of past experiences that may affects
their perceptions about risk (Sharifpour, Walters, & Ritchie,2014).
Roselius (1971) saying that when tourist faced with risk, they have several
options to select which includes postpone the traveling, go to a perceived less
risky location, shift risk by purchasing trip insurance, or cancel the trip.
Tourists tend to use a variety of rationalization strategies to justify their
decision on a risky destination (Uriely, Reichel, & Shani, 2007). In
addition, tourists may use a number of risk reduction strategies, for example,
looking for additional knowledge or conduct research on the destination to
reduce uncertainty of the situation (Reichel, Fuchs, & Uriely, 2009).
Furthermore, controlling over the perception of risk influences a tourist’s
willingness to travel (Jonas, Mansfeld, Paz & Potasman, 2010).

         
A research conducted by Demos (1992) investigate tourists’ perceptions
during holiday in Washington, DC. The study involved interviewing visitors
which includes holidaymakers, business people and those visiting friends or
relatives to the city during the early 1990s. The study was prompted by the
possibility that Washington, DC tourism industry were under threat due to high
level of crime. The author found that the number of visitor’s past visits and
their demographic profile such as gender, marital status, and level of
education affects tourist’s perceptions. He reported that a third of
respondents were very much concerned about their safety before arriving in the
city, and 39% claimed that they doesn’t 
feel safe in the city during night time . Nevertheless, only a third of
respondents felt safety as the main factor that might discourage them returning
to Washington, DC but most perceived that crime in the city would not
discourage them from a return visit. In a similar study explored by Pinhey and
Iverson (1994) focusing on typical holiday activities among visitors to Guam.
The authors reported that Japanese tourists to Guam were more likely concerns
about safety when participating in activities that take them too far away from
their hotels. The authors also noted that young and more affluent Japanese
tourists felt less safe when taking part in a number of leisure activities than
other respondents. Later, Demos’ (1992) and Pinhey and Iverson (1994) findings
claims that visitors with higher educational status were more likely concerns
about safety than visitors with lower educational levels.

          In a study conducted by Brunt et al.
(2000), the author surveyed British tourists to examine their perceptions and
experiences towards crime while on their holiday. Unlike most other surveys,
the author’s study did not make use of official police statistics but his own
findings from a victim survey. Furthermore, the survey questions related to the
respondent’s previous holiday experiences. Their findings, though taken from a different
perspective, correspond to existing tourist victimization literature, such as
the studies carried out by Chesney Lind, and Lind (1986), de Alburquerque and
McElroy (1999), and Harper (2001), which claim that tourists have more chances
being a victim than local residents. The research conducted by Brunt et al. (2000,)
also found that tourists showed low levels of concern about safety, and even
those who had been a victims of crime like property or motor vehicle theft, usually
felt that their holiday location were safe.

         
Surprisingly, in Malaysia there has been only few research conducted
which has discussed about risk. The limited studies about risk have
investigated the effects of terrorist threats on overall tourist arrivals (Lean
and Smyth, 2009) and were focused on tourists’ risk perception in urban
destinations, such as Bukit Bintang (Amir et al., 2012) and Johor Bahru (Anuar
et al., 2011). Another risk study in Malaysia has examined tourists’ perception
of risk on the rural islands and coastal areas was by Yang et al. (2014). He
gathered a list of risks which tourists were concerned about during their visit
to marine destinations in Malaysia. The authors findings indicates that marine
tourists in Malaysia were highly concerned with performance risks such as travel
service and transportation performance instead of safety and security risks,
and during that time the eastern coast of Sabah was rated as the most dangerous
marine destination in Malaysia. This study intends to understand the tourists
risk perception on crime in Malaysia and investigate the effects of various
determinants on risk perception.