The Curious Case of North Battleford: Understanding perceptions of crime and safety in a violent rural community.

Dr Tarah Hodgkinson1

1School Of Criminology And Criminal Justice, Griffith University, Mt Gravatt, Australia

In 2018, North Battleford, Canada had the highest Crime Severity Index (CSI) in the country. This rural city of 14,000 in midwestern Canada, became the focus of several news stories as local politicians and city employees scrambled to respond to their new-found title “the crime capital of Canada.” Residents and city

workers struggled to reconcile their own perceptions of the town and what police data was showing.  As a result, I partnered with local city council to develop a longitudinal perceptions of crime and safety survey. The survey was intended to be a baseline survey of resident’s perceptions of safety and experiences of victimization, across different areas of the city, with the long-term intention of measuring the effect of crime prevention programs over time. A stratified sampling technique was used to  sample all neighbourhoods in North Battleford. Local college students collected a convenience sample of each of these neighbourhoods. Residents were also given the opportunity to complete the survey

online if they were unable to complete it in person. Over 600 surveys were collected, resulting in one of the largest targeted rural crime surveys in Canada. This paper discusses the findings of one of   this survey in the context of theories of crime and practical crime prevention strategies for the city.


Dr. Tarah Hodgkinson is a lecturer at Griffith University and a crime prevention practitioner in communities across North America.


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