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15 Criminology, Crim. Just. L & Soc'y 3 (2014)
Drilling down: An Examination of the Boom-Crime Relationship in Resource-Based Boom Countries

handle is hein.journals/wescrim15 and id is 6 raw text is: 

Ruddell et al./ Western Criminology Review 15(1), 3-17 (2014)

Online citation: Ruddell, Rick, Dheeshana S. Jayasundara, Roni Mayzer, and Thomasine
Heitkamp. 2014. Drilling Down: An Examination of the Boom-Crime Relationship in Resource
Based Boom Counties Western Criminology Review 15(1):3-17
(http://wcr. sonoma.edu/vl5nl/Riddell._df).

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            Drilling Down: An Examination of the Boom-Crime Relationship
                                in Resource-Based Boom Counties

                                                Rick Ruddell
                                             University of Regina

                                          Dheeshana S. Jayasundara
                                          University of North Dakota

                                                Roni Mayzer
                                          University of North Dakota

                                            Thomasine Heitkamp
                                          University of North Dakota

Abstract: The expansion in natural resource development in rural communities has led to a number of social problems in
these places. The media, community stakeholders, as well as law enforcement and human service personnel have reported
that the rapid growth in these communities leads to increased crime and other social ills. In order to better understand the
boom-crime relationship, index crimes in oil and natural gas producing counties in Montana and North Dakota were
examined. Comparison of 2012 crime rates in a matched sample of counties revealed that crime rates were higher in oil-
impacted counties. A pre-post analysis found that violent crime in boom counties increased 18.5% between 2006 and 2012
while decreasing 25.6% in a matched sample of counties that had no oil or gas production. Inconsistent with the media
portrayal of these communities as a new wild west we did not find a significant association between oil or natural gas
production and property or violent crime in a series of OLS regression models. Missing crime data was a significant
limitation in this study and precludes us from making any broad generalizations about the boom-crime relationship.
Implications for further research are described.

Keywords: boomtowns, resource-based booms, rural crime, boomtown effects

    The rapid population and economic growth associated
with resource-based exploration  and extraction has
contributed to a number of social ills which have been
called boomtown effects (Government of New Brunswick
2012). Unlike normal population growth, resource-based
booms have resulted in the influx of young male
newcomers who earn large salaries and have little stake in
these communities (Ruddell and Thomas 2012). In some
cases these workers drive-in and drive-out (DIDO) or fly-
in and fly-out (FIFO) to their worksites and live in

temporary housing or man camps that may house a
thousand or more workers (White 2012). As a result of
these demographic changes, there has been an imbalanced
population sex ratio, a disruption in normal patterns of
interaction (e.g., less informal social control or density of
acquaintance - see Freudenburg 1984; 1986) and damage
to the social fabric that may be criminogenic in small
communities (Lee and Thomas 2010).
    Prior research has shown that the rapid population
growth linked with resource-based booms contributes to
increased levels of antisocial behavior and crime in rural


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