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Old 07-25-2012, 01:11 PM
 
Location: Northern Wisconsin
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I always thought of small towns as a way to get away from big city crime. However, I'm wondering, based on a little research if this is not necessarily so. I haven't lived in a small town, rural area for some time. Is this typical, that small towns are not refuges from crime?? Are you as likely to be robbed or burgled in small towns as suburban neighborhoods? Or is it dependent on the area/state/ region you live in?
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Old 07-25-2012, 04:27 PM
 
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Not to be sassy, but it really depends on who else lives there.

I've been near towns of less than 300 that had some real scum in them. They had records in other states and eventually went back to their old behaviors. Perhaps it just became more obvious as time went on.

There are no walls around small towns to keep bad guys out, or walls around crime ridden areas to keep the bad guys in. With more frequency, meth labs are being found on remote public and private lands. Meth manufacturers can be pretty bad when crossed - intentionally or accidentally. Same as pot growers, poachers, or livestock thieves.

Other than those types, it seems like bar fights also occur in small towns. Murders of passion. Petty theft. Vandalism.
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Old 07-25-2012, 04:55 PM
 
Location: Middle America
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In the rural area in which I grew up, the county was geographically large, but sparsely populated - 730 square miles, but a population of only 36,000 for the whole county. There are only 13 towns in the county, and the largest town/county seat is pop. 15,000. The next biggest town is 2,000. All the rest have under 1,000 each...some being only 200 people, if that.

This translates to a fairly small county law enforcement unit...a handful of cops covering a relatively large area. It's known that you can get away with quite a bit and fly under the radar of law enforcement, for the most part. This of course attracts an element that's not especially law-abiding. Sometimes, it's crimes on the level of hunting/fishing without proper licensure. Sometimes it's methmaking or drug-running. Sometimes it's really creepy stuff. But the bottom line is, people know law enforcement isn't a huge presence.

The other thing about rural areas and small towns are that jobs that pay well aren't abundant, so there are higher-than-average poverty rates. Just as in urban areas, where there is poverty, you'll find crime.
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Old 07-25-2012, 05:06 PM
 
Location: Northern Wisconsin
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I was shocked by the number of burglaries in these small towns. I've known people who lived in rural areas and had tresspassers steal stuff quite a few times. Out west, 36,000 is hardly a sparse population. We have counties out here that have less than 1,000 people.
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Old 07-25-2012, 06:00 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
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Yeah, in the country you get away from "big city crime" as such, but you still have rural crime. Fortunately a good bit of that is the illegal production of recreational pharmaceuticals, in general if you don't bother them, they won't bother you. Of course the crack-heads are out there, stealing things like sprinkler heads to sell for scrap so they can buy the crack. And you do have a good bit of empty house burglary, a gate across your driveway is a good deterrent.
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Old 07-26-2012, 04:43 AM
 
Location: Minneapolis, MN (North Minneapolis area)
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Heres one thing to think about, in small towns especially the really small ones of less than 1000 people, your more likely to leave your door unlocked. I grew up in a town of like 2.5k people, and our next door neighbor was an older couple, just 2 people lived there. My parents knew them, would go over and spend time and their house and they'd come over and spend time at our house. None of us locked our front doors usually when we'd go shopping or go anywhere, and can simply see if their car is missing from their driveway.

Hypothetical example: I know when there not home and can see when they get in their car and leave, theres nothing preventing me from just going inside their house and stealing something. It could be something small like a single dvd, and something that small they'd be unlikely to notice it was missing, and if they did actually notice they're missing a single dvd do you think they're going to think "oh someone most of come into our house just to steal this one dvd"

It could be casual, I could be baking something and am short an egg, and see my neighbors aren't home, and I know they usually leave their house unlocked. I could just go over there and look in their fridge to see if they have any eggs and I could steal one and it's likely they'll never notice, and if they did actually notice they were short an egg, will they think that someone came in just to steal one egg? And would they actually report it to the cops or go around knocking on neighbors houses if they came in to steal one egg?

Now I never did this myself, but it's just that small town folks are more likely to not lock their doors and are more likely to have stronger relationships with their neighbors and what not. And most robberies are planned and the people robbing someone has most likely been in their house before and is familiar with their house and the people who live there and their schedules (when they are and are not home, etc.) Random robberies where people drive down the road and just pick a random house to rob DO happen, but those are very, very rare. No doubt the media and commercials for home security products make people think that stuff happens to 75% of the population on a daily basis.

Not saying that people in big cities don't leave doors unlocked or they dont visit their neighbors and get to know them quite well, it's just that it's much more common in small towns. I remember in my grandma's town of like 300 people we'd walk around the town for fun and she'd tell me who lives in just about every house lol

Last edited by Radical_Car; 07-26-2012 at 04:58 AM..
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Old 07-26-2012, 07:50 AM
 
Location: Middle America
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prairieparson View Post
I was shocked by the number of burglaries in these small towns. I've known people who lived in rural areas and had tresspassers steal stuff quite a few times. Out west, 36,000 is hardly a sparse population. We have counties out here that have less than 1,000 people.
And a high incidence of crime, too, if there is limited law enforcement. The bottom line is that when people know they are not going to get caught breaking the law, more of them are more likely to break the law. When people whose livelihood depends upon engaging in illegal activities, they flock to where they are most able to conduct their business undetected, so long as there is a significant enough population to make money doing what it is that they do.
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Old 07-26-2012, 08:49 AM
 
Location: Kirkwood, DE and beautiful SXM!
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Burglary is always a consideration in small towns, but keep in mind that gangs do not limit themselves to inner city. In fact, small towns can be the perfect place for them, especially in the outlying areas. I think drugs have always been a problem in small towns and sometimes is attributed to there not being enough legal things to do.

We have a second home in a small town that has a decent police department but drugs and gangs are a significant problem. Several years ago, gang initiation was murdering senior citizens who lived alone. As I get older, I certainly worry about things like this.

No matter where we live, we need to be diligent in looking out for ourselves and others, especially those who cannot always look out for themselves.
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Old 07-26-2012, 09:29 AM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
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Lets say that you have one person who is going to be a felon [murderer, rapist, arsonist, burglar, etc] out of a population of 100,000 people.

If in one environment you could see 100,000 people living in one square-mile area [alongside other square-mile areas with an equal population densities]. In this environment one individual could expect to be directly effected by crime on a regular basis, because they live within a small radius of where crime is happening.

In another environment you could see 100,000 people taking up a thousand square-miles [effectively 100 people per square-mile]. In this environment one individual's square-mile radius might not have any felons in it at all. To measure crime this individual would need to look at more than his/her square-mile area, but instead look at the thousand square-mile area to get the same crime rate. In this area an individual would have a much lower expectation of being directly effected by crime.

In the USA, we have counties with population densities as high as 60,000+ people per-square-mile; and counties with as low as 0.0449 people per-square-mile [4 people per 100 square-miles].

Overall in the USA we have 83 people per square-mile. So there are a lot more places with very few people, than there are places with lots of people.

Along with that, we have a lot of places with very low crime rates.

There will always be other factors that effect crime rates. But one consideration should be population-density.
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Old 07-26-2012, 11:36 AM
 
Location: Finally escaped The People's Republic of California
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one thing to look at about crime rates is violent crime versus thefts. Alot of rural areas with a high crime rate have hardly any violent crime but alot of thefts. So old lady Jones calls the Sheriff's Dept. because someone took her shovel that she left next to the road. That's alot better than getting murdered........
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