Historically, much criminological research and crime reduction policy has been principally focussed on urban environments to the detriment of rural communities. Rural policing and crime reduction policies have never matched those of urban environments due to the lower reported crime levels and perceived lack of need.
My research addresses the key issue of farm property crime, and how farmers consider ways to protect their property from theft and damage.
One method that has been successfully adopted in a variety of scenarios, including marketing, Health and Safety policy, and more recently, UK Alcohol policy, is that of Behavioural Economics, in particular Nudge Theory.
Nudge Theory advocates influencing behaviour by altering the context or environment in which people make choices. By evaluating the perceived social norms of a person or group of people, policy makers can influence the way that person or group think about things, and the way they make decisions.
Despite extensive use in policy-making in both the UK and the US this approach has not been widely adopted in crime policy development, and in particular policies aimed at reducing rural property crime.
By introducing elements of Behavioural Economics and Nudge Theory to the farm crime prevention arena, it is asserted that, by identifying the reasons for low levels of security adoption by farmers, this behaviour can be influenced using Nudge Theory in a way that changes the social norms of this group. This would therefore make the use of appropriate, relevant security measures more acceptable, the protection of property and livestock from theft more robust, and thus make a start in addressing the issue of farm crime.
The research will also establish what part key stakeholders – such as the police, insurers, security providers and equipment manufacturers – may play in a novel farm crime prevention decision-making framework.
Miss Kreseda Smith
Harper Adams University
Research Grants Administrator
Tackling Farm Crime: farmer behaviour and crime prevention decision making
T: 01952 815113