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Criminal Victimization in Rural and Urban Areas - Comparative Analysis

NCJ Number
B L Smith; J F Donnermeyer
Date Published
31 pages
This paper reports on the results of a criminal victimization survey in Benton County, a predominantly agricultural community in north central Indiana.
It examines the extent of crime in Benton County and compares the volume and rate of rural and urban criminal victimization. The study also compares the rate of criminal victimization in this rural area with national averages and with the rates of various metropolitan areas, as derived from the National Crime Panel surveys. Data for the household and personal victimization survey were collected through an area probability sample. Results indicated that a greater proportion of rural crime is of a less serious nature than offenses experienced by urban residents and that the volume of rural crime is generally equivalent to that of nonmetropolitan areas of 50,000 or less population but not as high as for metropolitan areas of 50,000 or greater. Moreover, the proportion of victimizations experienced by rural residents in urban areas or outside the county is higher than the proportion of victimizations experienced by urban residents when outside of the urban area. Future research on rural crime should focus on the pattern of victimization in rural areas, develop theoretical perspectives regarding rural-urban differentials, and examine the effect of increasing urbanization on rural criminal justice agencies. Five tables and 15 references are provided. (Author abstract modified)