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Rural Crime - Unique Rural Crime Problems

illegal urban weisheit note

It is also important to note that rural areas may have special or unique crime problems, including the organized theft of livestock, equipment, and other agricultural products. Weisheit et al. point out the potential for an increase in such crimes resulting from the trend toward larger farms in the United States. For example, an article in the Los Angeles Times reported on widespread thefts of bull semen from farms in the San Joaquin in California, which is apparently a multimillion-dollar enterprise. In addition, as Weisheit et al. point out, there are a number of ways in which rural and urban crime are interrelated. They note that rural areas are often used to produce drugs—in particular, marijuana and methamphetamine—for consumption in rural as well as urban areas. Further, rural areas are frequently used as transshipment points for illegal goods such as drugs and stolen automobile parts.

It is also important to note that some efforts to influence economic growth in rural areas can increase crime there. The recent development of labor-intensive industries such as meat and poultry processing in rural areas has attracted large numbers of (often illegal) immigrants. As Weisheit et al. point out, the presence of these immigrants in what were previously homogeneous small communities creates the potential for racial tensions and hate crimes. There is also the issue of the emergence of militia movements in several rural areas, and problems associated with ecological or environmental crime. As the problem of disposing of hazardous waste increases and the costs of disposing of such waste legally climb, it can be expected that the illegal dumping of waste in rural areas will increase, as will the risks to the health and welfare of residents of rural areas.

It is thus clear that while crime in rural areas is generally lower than in urban areas and different in type, criminologists need to be aware of these differences in order to further develop criminological theories and policies to deal with crime.

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