Increased criminal activity has been linked to rapid natural resource development, particularly in rural areas. These “boomtowns” often experience rapid population growth, resulting in “social disruption”. This research examines one component of social disruption, crime, in the context of unconventional energy development in Pennsylvania. We employ quantitative longitudinal methods to examine the association between county-level arrest rates for four types of minor crimes and unconventional natural gas well density in Pennsylvania from 2005 to 2014 controlling for demographic and socioeconomic variables. Results indicate that well density is positively associated with driving under the influence and disorderly conduct arrest rates, but is not associated with arrest rates for drug abuse violations or public drunkenness. Findings suggest the need to look beyond broad categories of criminal activity to particular types of crime related to energy development, and to what extent these indicate broader patterns of social disruption.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
- Sociology and Political Science