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A Structural Analysis of Social Disorganisation and Crime in Rural Communities in Australia

  • Year: 2004
  • Author: Jobes, Patrick C; Barclay, Elaine; Weinand, Herb; Donnermeyer, Joseph F
  • Journal Name: Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, The
  • Journal Number: Vol. 37, No. 1
  • Country: Australia
  • State/Region: New South Wales

This paper extends research on rural crime beyond North America by analysing associations between census measures of community structures and officially reported crime in rural New South Wales (Australia). It employs social disorganisation theory to examine variations in crime rates between different kinds of rural communities. A typology of rural communities was developed from cluster analysis of demographic, economic and social structural measures of rural local government areas (LGAs) in NSW. Six distinct types of rural communities were found to have unique crime characteristics. Structural measures were statistically associated with four types of crime. Overall, the findings support social disorganisation theory. Crime generally decreased across an urban-rural continuum, and more cohesive and integrated community structures had less crime. One highly disorganised type of small community had extremely high crime. These analyses demonstrate how specific structures of rural places are linked to rural crime.

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