What is Rural Crime?

Here at the National Rural Crime Network, we believe that the scale, cost, social impact and other effects of crime in rural areas are underestimated, under-reported and not fully understood. We aim to shine a light on the issues, to improve understanding and enhance community safety.

This is important, particularly in the face of ever-increasing competition for money and resources.

The Network is therefore concerned with all crime and anti-social behaviour occurring in rural areas. This includes problems typically associated with the countryside such as wildlife and heritage crime, farm equipment and animal thefts. However, there have been very substantial increases in fraud and other scams, with criminals deliberately targeting isolated, vulnerable people.

“Rural crime remains high, costing the UK £42.5 million in 2015…  The North East and East of England are the worst affected areas costing £7.9 and £6.9 million… Farmers and police have adopted high-tech security measures to tackle increasingly sophisticated thieves… Cyber-crime is becoming an increasing concern in their communities.” Source NFU Mutual Rural Crime Survey, 2015

Particular challenges exist in tackling other crime types when perpetrated in rural areas, for example, drug dealing, domestic abuse and burglary, which very often present different demands to incidents in cities and urban areas.

Providing services across large, sparsely populated geographical areas can also be more costly than in urban areas, and as resources come under even greater pressure, this is becoming even more challenging. It is vital that the voice of the countryside is heard and the personal, social and economic costs of crime and anti-social behaviour are fully understood and acted upon.

Whilst the volume of crime in rural areas is very often lower than in urban locations, its consequences can be equally impactful and profoundly undermine feelings of personal safety – a basic human need.