Drilling Down for Answers: Unmasking the Impact of Oil and Natural Gas Activity on Crime Rates in Texas





boomtown, boomtown effects, residual change score, Part I known violent offenses, social change


This article delves into the impact of oil and natural gas (ONG) production on the incidence of Part I violent crimes in Texas. Texas holds a prominent position in the energy industry, contributing to 43% of the nation's crude oil production and 26% of its natural gas production (EIA, 2021). However, alongside ONG operations come significant societal changes, including a rise in various social issues, including criminal activities. While prior research has explored the consequences of ONG-related transformations on crime rates through perceptual and economic studies, there is a scarcity of studies that investigate the intricate relationship between ONG activities and crime patterns, particularly in the Texan context. To bridge this research gap, this study employs residual change scores and multiple linear regression techniques to scrutinize county-level shifts in ONG activity and Part I violent crime incidents during the period spanning 2009 to 2019 across Texas ONG-producing counties. The findings derived from this investigation unveil a noteworthy association between six dynamic ONG measures and the alteration in specific known Part I violent crimes. This study makes a noteworthy contribution to the existing body of knowledge concerning rural crime and boomtown dynamics as it stands as the inaugural examination utilizing residual change score analysis to determine whether ONG activity indeed contributes to any variations in known Part I violent crime rates. By scrutinizing the intricate connection between energy production and crime, this research aids in fostering a better understanding of the social implications of ONG activities in resource-rich regions, particularly within Texas.




How to Cite

Shaw, C. D. (2024). Drilling Down for Answers: Unmasking the Impact of Oil and Natural Gas Activity on Crime Rates in Texas. International Journal of Rural Criminology, 8(2), 212–242. https://doi.org/10.18061/ijrc.v8i2.9631