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Crime and the Countryside

NCJ Number
Rural Development Perspectives Dated: (February 1986) Pages: 2-8
D A McGranahan
Date Published
7 pages
Using FBI crime data for 1960-1984, this study examines whether rural crime constitutes the spread of the urban crime problem, whether large cities and small towns have different crime types, and whether crime is associated with particular social and economic characteristics.
Rural crime rates, although less than urban rates, now exceed the urban level of 20 years ago. This increase is not a spillover of big-city crime, but rather a reflection of general crime trends. Both FBI data and victimization surveys show that, compared with other crimes, rates of robbery and motor vehicle theft are relatively low in nonmetro areas. There are greater opportunities for these crimes and crimes such as purse snatching in urban settings. Crime is highest in areas where opportunities for crime are greatest, where poverty and low incomes are prevalent, and where community and family ties are weak. Incomplete or broken families (measured by the percentage of children not living with both parents) is the primary factor in rural crime, not poverty, race, or population growth. 5 figures and 2 tables.


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