Oil, Gas, and Crime: The Dark Side of the Boomtown

This book addresses the causes of rising crime rates resulting from the rapid population growth and industrialization associated with natural resource extraction in rural communities. Ruddell describes the social problems emerging in these boomtowns, including increases in antisocial behavior, as well as property-related and violent crime, industrial mishaps and traffic collisions. Many of the victims of these crimes are already members of vulnerable or marginalized groups, including rural women, Indigenous populations, and young people. The quality of life in boomtowns also decreases due to environmental impacts, including air, water and noise pollution. Law enforcement agencies, courts, and correction facilities in boomtowns are often overwhelmed by the growing demand as these places are seldom able to manage the population growth. The key questions addressed here are: who should pay the costs of managing these booms, and how can we prepare communities to mitigate the worst effects of this growth and development and, ultimately, increase the quality of life for boomtown residents. An in-depth and timely study, this original work will be of great interest to scholars of violent crime, criminal justice, and corporate harm.

Rick Ruddell