Document Type


Journal/Book Title

International Journal of Rural Criminology

Publication Date



Ohio State University. Libraries





First Page


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Last Page



The Bakken oil play experienced substantial population growth from oil and gas development over the last decade, resulting in disruption to social norms at the community level. We surveyed residents in a county in Montana and a county in North Dakota about their perceptions of crime resulting from the most recent boom, finding that residents perceived high levels of various types of crimes resulting from the boom and that many also changed their daily behavior out of fear of such crime. In addition, we asked about current perceptions of community norms and find evidence that perceived levels of helping and trust are lower in the boomtown context than in other similar types of rural areas. We also show how these perceptions matter for other important community-level issues; those who perceived high levels of crime were more likely to see energy development as negative and those who saw community norms as weaker and were less involved in community organizations were more likely to plan to leave. A better understanding of how residents perceive social disruption resulting from energy development and the implications of these perceptions can help leaders in rural boomtowns make better decisions related to natural resource development.