For the first time this decade, public concern with and perceptions of crime apear to be leveling off if not subsiding.

Although 43 per cent of Americans say they think crime in their neighborhood has increased during the last year, this represents a decrease from 1975, when 50 per cent so reported.

In addition, the percentage saying they are fearful in their own home at night has declined from 19 per cent in 1975 to 15 per cent. And, after a long uptrend, the percentage saying there are places in their neighborhood where they would be afraid to walk alone at night has leveled off.

Women remain more likely than men to say crime in their area is increasing. And, while in 1975 whites and nonwhites were about equally likely to say criminal activity was on the rise, nonwhites are more likely to say so today.

Residents of smaller cities and rural areas are far more likely to report increased crime than are those living in the largest (500,000 or more people) or medium-sized (50,000-499,999) cities.

Here are the questions asked, followed by the latest results and the trend during this decade:

Is there more crime in this area than there was a year ago or less?

The results are based on in-person interviews with 1,504 adults, 18 and older, in more than 300 scientifically selected localities across the nation from Nov. 18-21.