Crime patterns differ across different geographical areas. However, much of the explanations for these differences explicitly focus on urban population areas. The result is that rural areas have been neglected. The current work seeks to explain rural concentrations of crime with an emphasis on violent crime through the use of an alternative to crime rates: a crime location quotient. Data was gathered from the British Columbia Policing Jurisdiction Crime Trends, 2000 – 2009 (BCPJ) and includes the raw counts of both property and violent offending from the Uniform Crime Reporting 2 (UCR2) Survey, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Statistics Canada (N=140). A comparison between crime rates and location quotients suggests that, within British Columbia, rural areas appear to specialize in violent offending. Traditional, urban based theories are tested with ordinary least squares regression for their use in explaining property and violent offending within British Columbia and it is concluded that property offending is explained well with traditional theories although the theories are less useful for violent offending. It is speculated that the reason for this difference is that traditional theories have been developed within urban areas so might miss out on some of the specific characteristics of rural police jurisdictions. As a result, the differences between rural and urban areas and differences between rural and urban violence are identified and used to develop a rural specific theoretical construct for explaining violence. The new theoretical construct is then evaluated in terms of the empirical explanatory power along with the scope and range of the theory as it relates to the British Columbian context. The new theory is then repositioned within the larger social ecological school of crime and fit back into the existing literature about rural crime. The while there are limitations with focusing on a single province, important considerations for explaining rural crime are evident and suggestions for future research take into account these results.
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Thesis advisor: Andresen, Martin
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