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Crime in Rural Communities Kate Williams, Aberystwyth University and Deputy Director, Welsh Centre for Crime and Social Justice.

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Presentation on theme: "Crime in Rural Communities Kate Williams, Aberystwyth University and Deputy Director, Welsh Centre for Crime and Social Justice."— Presentation transcript:

1 Crime in Rural Communities Kate Williams, Aberystwyth University and Deputy Director, Welsh Centre for Crime and Social Justice

2 Justice Justice is due to every person Justice should not depend on Geography Justice not disentitlement –Responsibility – not permanent disadvantage. –Restoration. –Re-integration. Sustainable provision

3 Rural/Urban Myths Myth 1 –Urban crime is high –Rural crime is low Myth 2 –Urban social control and cohesion is weak and exclusion is high –Rural social control and cohesion is strong and inclusion is high Myth 3 –We can solve urban crime by strengthening communities and by RJ.

4 Correction Urban – Not all urban areas have high crime rates. Rural – Not all rural areas have low crime rates – Some rural areas have high crime rates in certain crime types – Not all rural areas enjoy stability (new age travellers, Polish communities) – What about guardianship, accessibility and opportunity?

5 Crime … our rural regions have become hotspots of criminal activity... not just with an increase in those crimes seen in urban areas but also an entirely new breed of activity targeting farmers and their assets, both man-made and natural (Crompton 2011:14). Response ‘…rural concerns that do not figure on central government’s radar are effectively marginalised and thus not addressed’ (Gilling, 2011:73).

6 What is Rural? Rural juxtaposed to urban? Rural as described by those living in rural areas. Rurality in Wales, Scotland and England may differ. Even most densely populated areas have pockets of rurality. Complex issue - Settlements below a certain size? - Population density? - Accessibility? - Proximity to services? - Employment in ‘rural’ activities? Rural further subdivided: - Accessible rural - Remote rural - Deep rural Each level of rurality may require different solutions.

7 Scale, Population and Geography Areas Commonly Thought of as RuralPopulationSquare Kilometres Ratio of people per square kilometre Gwynedd121,9003,26247 Powys133,0005,17925 Carmarthen183,8002,39575 Pembroke122,4001,59074 Ceredigion75,9001,78343 Compare Cardiff (city and county) City only goes up to a density of 5, , ,500 Total in Wales3,063,456 20,

8 Welfare 20% in both rural and urban fall below poverty line. Level of need similar but different patterns – less predictable – needs missed or classed as not important – Need measured by urban standards. Transport costs higher (fuel is more expensive and car more necessary). Access to public transport is lower. Employment seasonal and low pay not unemployment Fewer work and training opportunities Food costs and heating bills higher Housing – quality OK but expensive Difficulties with services – not available – no anonymity.

9 Crime in Rural Areas Relative isolation opens up rural areas to crime (Aust and Simmons, 2002). Late 90s and early in 2000 crime was increasing Greater targeting of traditional rural businesses Longer police and ambulance response times (increases fear and severity of violent attacks) Victimisation may be more strongly felt as it is unexpected and people are isolated from support services. Community is more heavily affected Livestock crimes impact on food hygiene

10 Criminal Justice and Crime Control Policing vast areas has complex management and resource implications. Support of local community is vital. Engaging with, building on and developing local networks is vital. Modern policing has become too centralised – causes difficulties for policing (and all other CJ agencies). –Problems and solutions are assessed under urban perspectives – risk ‘hot-spots’ – intelligence led. Old system more peripatetic – professionals isolated but rounded problem-solvers (Cain, 1973; Minkes and Raynor, 2013)

11 Conflicts and Disputes in Rural Areas Social Disorganisation / Community Efficacy – community and social cohesion –poverty, residential instability, family disruption, and ethnic origin Rural victimisation Hidden violence – the protection and control of the community.

12 Conclusions Are the particular crime concerns of rural areas being addressed – nationally – locally? How might they be better addressed? Is the policing of rural communities efficient and effective for those communities? –For all groups in the community To improve what needs to alter –Reduce centralisation –Reduce policing by managerialism and targets, give some focus to qualitative measures. Centralised resolution of problems may cause more problems than it solves – more local discretion

13 Diolch am gwrando Thank you for Listening Unrhyw gwestiynau Any Questions? Kate Williams Aberystwyth University and Welsh Centre for Crime and Social Justice E-bost/

14 References Aust, R. and Simmons, J. (2002) Rural Crime: England and Wales, 01/02, London: Home Office. BBC Countryfile (2011) ‘John Craven investigates rural crime’, BBC Countryfile, 3 April, Available at: [Accessed 18 May 2012]. Crompton, R. (2011a) ‘Broken fences’, Police Professional, Issue 278, 3 November. Crompton, R. (2011b) Speech at Rural Crime: Closing the Gate on Criminality: The Inaugural ACPO Rural Crime Seminar. Donnermeyer, J. F. and Barclay, E. (2005) ‘The policing of farm crime’, Police Practices and Research, 6(1) 3-17 Forgrave, A. (2012) ‘Huge 30% rise in rural crime’, Daily Post, 30 August. Girling, E., Loader, I. and Sparks, R. (2000) Crime and Social Change in Middle England, London: Routledge. Hough, M. and Lewis, H. (1989) ‘Counting crime and analysing risks: The British Crime Survey’, in D. Evans and D. Herbert (eds.), The Geography of Crime, London: Routledge. Jones, J. (2012a) ‘Beyond farm gates: Criminology, the agricultural industry and animal abuse’, Journal of Animal Welfare Law, Spring/Summer, pp.1-4. Jones, J. (2012b) ‘Looking beyond the ‘rural idyll’: Some recent trends in rural crime’, Criminal Justice Matters, 89, 8-9. Jones, J. (2010b) ‘The neglected problem of farm crime: an exploratory study’, Safer Communities, 9(1) Jones, J. (2002) ‘The cultural symbolisation of disordered and deviant behaviour: Young people’s experiences in a Welsh rural market town’, Journal of Rural Studies, 18(2) Mawby, R.I. and Yarwood, R. (2011) Rural Policing and Policing the Rural: A Constable Countryside? Farnham: Ashgate. Mawby, R.I. (2007) ‘Crime, place and explaining rural hotspots’, International Journal of Rural Crime, 1, Mirrlees-Black, C. (1998) Rural Areas and Crime: Findings from the British Crime Survey’, Home Office Research Findings 77, London: Home Office. Police Professional (2011) ‘Broken fences: Signal crimes rise in the country’, Police Professional, Issue 278, 3 November.


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