Does oil and gas development increase crime within UK local authorities?

Paul Stretesky, Michael Long, Ruth McKie, Feizel Aryee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
12 Downloads (Pure)


There is a renewed interest in expanding domestic oil and gas development in the United Kingdom (UK). However, the potential social consequences of this expansion are still unknown. The current study assesses whether the number of spudded oil and gas wells are correlated with violent and property crime rates within 69 local authorities between 2004 and 2015 (n=828). Fixed effects regression analyses indicate that wells are positively correlated with violent crime rates. That is, each additional well is associated with a 1.5% increase in violent crime. When the analysis is limited to those local authorities that have constructed the most wells, the correlation between wells and crime increases as the boomtown literature might suggest. In particular, each additional well is associated with a 4.9% increase in violent crime and a 4.9% increase in property crime. We conclude by pointing out that this study stands as the first to empirically examine the relationship between oil and gas development and crime within UK local authorities over time and suggest that results have important implications for crime, social disorganisation and environmental justice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)356-365
JournalThe Extractive Industries and Society
Issue number3
Early online date17 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018


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