The relationship between energy prices and levels of crime in Canada is under-researched, despite Canada’s dependency on its natural resources. There have been numerous media reports on the high level of crime and revenue from resource-based communities, such as Fort McMurray. However, these conclusions have not been substantiated by research. In this thesis, social disorganization theory and routine activity theory are used to examine crime patterns in Alberta. The current study explores the relationship between fluctuations in energy prices and crime rates in Alberta between the years 1998 to 2006. A fixed effects linear regression analysis is used to determine the association between crime rates and changes in both oil and natural gas prices while accounting for a number of variables. A statistically significant negative relationship was found between energy prices and break and enter, as well as theft from auto. In light of these findings, implications for future research and theoretical development are discussed.
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Thesis advisor: Andresen, Martin
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