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Rural Crime and Justice: Implications for Theory and Research

NCJ Number
Crime & Delinquency Volume: 42 Issue: 3 Dated: (July 1996) Pages: 379-397
Date Published
19 pages
This article assesses current theories and research methods regarding their ability to account for crime and justice in rural areas.
Theories of crime and research on crime and justice have usually been based on an urban model of social organization. However, the concept of rural has many dimensions and can be operationalized in a variety of ways. This article focuses on two dimensions that are particularly relevant to theoretical and methodological concerns: the influences of geography and culture in making rural America both distinct and of scientific interest. The author concludes that neither theory nor method in the study of crime and justice has adequately considered the rural setting. Theories of crime that purport to be general theories are too often theories only of urban crime. Ignoring the rural setting in the development of these theories is analogous to ignoring differences across categories of gender, race, age, or culture. The paucity of research and theory on rural crime and justice handicaps the development of comprehensive crime control policies. The usefulness of national policies will be limited if policy makers do not understand variations across jurisdictions, including rural-urban differences and variations across rural areas. References

Date Published: January 1, 1996