Research - Nudge Theory and Farm Crime Prevention Decision Making: understanding the culture of farmers in England and Wales | Harper Adams University


Nudge Theory and Farm Crime Prevention Decision Making: understanding the culture of farmers in England and Wales


The past focus for much criminological research and crime reduction policy has been principally focussed on urban environments to the detriment of rural communities (Briddell, 2009) . 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 (Yarwood, 2001) . The 1990’s however, saw a large increase in urban CCTV which has been linked to a generation of travelling criminals keen to exploit farms with a historically poor uptake of security and lower policing levels (Williams et al, 2000) . The project has three key objectives: 1. Firstly, an empirical analysis of rural crime in order to quantify, identify and evaluate the threat of rural crime, and an investigation of the historical reasons why the uptake of farm security does not match the rise in rural property and livestock crime. 2. Secondly, to assess the impact on the farming industry of low levels of on-farm security in respect of animal health and welfare and crop production, and secondary crimes including hare coursing, extortion, and actions such as animal rights actions. 3. Finally, to evaluate methods by which adoption of security measures can be promoted by appropriate policy mechanisms. Briddell LON (2009) Rurality and Crime: Identifying and explaining rural/urban differences. Pennsylvania State University, PhD Thesis, December 2009. Yarwood, R (2001) Crime and Policing in the British Countryside: Some agendas for Contemporary Geographical Research. Sociologia Ruralis 41(2): 201-219. Williams, K. Johnstone, C. & Goodwin, M. (2000) CCTV Surveillance in Urban Britain: Beyond the Rhetoric of Crime Prevention. In J. Gold & G. Revill. (eds) Landscapes of Defence. Harlow: Prentice Hall.



  1. To evaluate farmer’s crime prevention responses in relation to rising rural crime rates
  2. To model the choice architecture for farm based crime prevention adoption
  3. To assess the effectiveness and uptake of current crime prevention measures, both physical and policy focused
  4. Employ behavioural economics to design effective decision making contexts for crime prevention measures

The research will be conducted through face-to-face interviews, surveys, and focus groups of farmers, farm insurers and farm security specialists. A review of existing rural security policies will be undertaken in order to direct recommendations for policy formulation specifically for farms, in conjunction with rural stakeholders with consideration to the rising costs and crime levels to farms, as well as issues relating to animal health and welfare, and crop production.

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