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Rural perspectives on crime and justice

A global analysis of victimization, safety and policing

Rural Diverse

What does violence against farmers in South Africa have in common with tractor thefts in Sweden? Rural areas are quite diverse not only geographically but also in terms of the safety challenges they face. Although some crimes are endemic, they do not exist in territorial compartments given that spaces are inextricably linked to each other across the rural-urban continuum, not only economically, but also socially and environmentally. In a globalized world, criminogenic networks may connect individuals without paying attention to borders, creating major challenges for crime prevention and policing. At the same time, rural crime is often underreported. This study builds on previous work by a large and increasing body of research on rural criminology that aims at characterizing the nature of victimization, people’s safety perceptions, policing and crime prevention practices in rural areas across the globe. The research is made up of individual jurisdiction-specific studies, which touch on people’s attitudes to the following themes:

1. Crime and victimization

2. Safety and fear

3. Practices of policing and police trust

4. Crime prevention practices

Expected results

Case studies in selected countries will be presented in workshops and conferences and an edited book will be produced (manuscript in 2023 and publication in 2024 with a leading scholarly publisher). The book will include a series of jurisdiction-specific chapters which present both data and analysis, and which provide a comparative analysis of these themes across each of the jurisdictions.

Society relevance

In the proposed study, we cast a global and comparative look at crime and safety in rural areas, by reporting survey findings from case studies from all continents other than Antarctica. The study has the potential to suggest common a set of tailored appropriate prevention measures to reduce the opportunities for victimization in rural contexts. This study is based on a large and growing interest in safety in areas of the rural-urban continuum which lacking in the international criminological literature.

Collaborators from the following countries are involved in this ground-breaking project

Data has already been collected in some of these countries; for other jurisdictions, collaborators are at various stages of individual project planning:


Prof Vania Ceccato, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden, email:

Dr Alistair Harkness, University of New England, Australia, email:

Belongs to: Department of Urban Planning and Environment
Last changed: Mar 29, 2023