An Exploration of the Effect of Oil and Natural Gas Activity on Crime Rates in Texas




Shaw, Callie D.

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Texas accounts for 43% of the nation’s crude oil production and 26% of its natural gas production (EIA, 2021). As a top-producing state, Texas has experienced stability in the oil and natural gas (ONG) industry since the turn of the 20th century. With ONG activity, however, comes social change, including a number of social ills, such as an increase in criminal offenses. Although previous research has assessed the effects of ONG production-related changes on the number of crimes through perception and economic studies, few have examined the relationship between ONG activity and crime patterns in Texas. Consequently, the focus of this dissertation is to determine the impact of changes in ONG production on changes in serious crime while considering indicators of sociodemographic change and known crime correlates. Specifically, this study uses residual change scores and multiple linear regression to examine county-level changes between ONG activity and known Part I criminal offenses between 2009 and 2019 among the counties in Texas. This study adds to the existing rural crime and boomtown literature because it is the first to use residual change scores to assess whether ONG activity contributes to any change in the known Part I crimes or social change variables. The results of this study indicate that six dynamic measures of ONG significantly affect change in specific known Part I offenses, thereby supporting the argument that failure to control for processes of change may lead to specification bias issues that are reflected in previous studies exploring the impact of ONG production on crime rates.



Oil, Natural gas, Boomtown, Crime, Static, Dynamic, Residual change


Shaw, C. D. (2022). <i>An exploration of the effect of oil and natural gas activity on crime rates in Texas</i> (Unpublished dissertation). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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