The top of the courthouse building in London, Ontario, with a view of the sky.
Glenn Porter

Assoc. Prof. Glenn Porter


Catering details
CCTV cameras on a solid wall.
Kyle Mulrooney Staff Picture

Dr Kyle Mulrooney


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What is Rural Criminology?

‘Rural criminology’ is a field of research that acknowledges rurality and community size has an impact on the incidence of crime, types of crime, response to crime and access to related services. University of New England was a pioneer in this field of research, which remains well-placed to lead research in this field due to its location in regional Australia and acknowledged expertise in criminology.

About the Centre for Rural Criminology

The Centre for Rural Criminology builds on UNE’s pioneering role in the development of the field of rural criminology.

It brings together scholars, higher degree research students, practitioners, organisations and communities to support collaborative national and international multidisciplinary research and the publishing of scholarly work into areas of national and global significance.

Together, the centre’s researchers and partners study the most compelling social problems that impact upon rural communities; from livestock theft and illicit drugs, to environmental crimes and interpersonal violence, and others. The centre aims to:

  • lead and facilitate collaborative research and output in the field of rural criminology​
  • build links between academia, industry and the community​
  • inform progressive policies related to rural crime​
  • produce valuable information that can enhance the health and wellbeing of rural communities.​

Our work

Projects and activity


The impact of COVID-19 on the NGO alcohol and other drug sector in Australia

The Network of Alcohol and other Drugs Agencies (NADA) has engaged the Drug Policy Modelling Program (DPMP) to conduct a research on the impact of COVID-19 on the demand for treatment(e.g. numbers seeking help), service delivery (e.g. changes in delivery modalities), workforce (e.g. training activities) and business practice (e.g. financial impact) for AOD treatment services. This project also focuses specifically on the unique barriers and challenges for regional, rural and remote services. Rather than merely describing what has happened the project will consider the implications of these impacts for: the NSW NGO AOD treatment sector; service delivery modes; the funders of treatment; and the recipients of treatment. This project is led by Prof Alison Ritter (UNSW) and Dr Katinka van de Ven (UNE).

Contact: To get involved or for questions, please contact Katinka van de Ven

International farm crime research project

This project is focused on advancing knowledge of agricultural crime. This is an ongoing endeavour to examine types, extent and location of farm crime around the globe; consider attitudes of farmers and farming communities to criminal justice responses to farm crime; assess existing policing practices and analyse alternatives; and determine a suite of strategies for prevention and control of crime against farms and for improvement of service delivery by criminal justice systems.

Project lead: Alistair Harkness, Senior Lecturer, UNE Criminology

New South Wales Farm Crime Survey 2020

This project examines the extent of crimes that impact on pastoral, agricultural and aquacultural operations; considering victimisation experienced by farmers, as well as their perceptions of crime and responses to crime by the police, as well as their own uptake and employment of crime prevention tools and techniques. Building on a history of benchmarking rural crime survey conducted at UNE, this project will help us better understand the scope of the problem and plan effective measures that can be taken by the government, law enforcement agencies and farmers to reduce the incidence of farm crime across NSW.

Project lead: Dr Kyle Mulrooney, Co-director, UNE Centre for Rural Criminology

Farm Security and Acquisitive Crime: An evaluation of Ceres Tag for the interruption and reduction of livestock theft

The overarching purpose of this project is to evaluate the application of the Ceres Tag smart animal ear tag on improving farm security, and to determine the efficacy of this technological intervention aimed at preventing and responding to the theft of livestock. Specifically, in partnership with the New South Wales Police Rural Crime Prevention Team, the project will undertake a Proof of Concept focused on the reactive capacity of Ceres Tag to (a) provide near real-time information on stock agitation and/or disturbance; (b) alert on a breach of boundary by tagged stock ; and (c) provide GPS location to intervene in stock theft/recover stolen stock.

Project lead: Dr Kyle Mulrooney, Co-director, UNE Centre for Rural Criminology


Stock theft: Hear Dr Kyle Mulrooney talk about the problem of stock theft. Watch now.

NSW Farm crime survey 2020: Have your say to help tackle rural crime. Take the survey.

Official launch: Presentations from the opening of the Centre for Rural Criminology, 9 September 2019. Watch now.

Public Lecture: Responding to farm crime, presented by Dr Alistair Harkness, Federation University. Listen now.

Public lecture: Policing rural communities, presented by Detective Inspector Cameron Whiteside, NSW Police. Listen now.

Our research 

There has been significant growth in the rate of crime in rural Australia. These crimes range from livestock and machinery theft to interpersonal violence and environmental crime.

Rural crime doesn't just result in a breakdown of law and order and social cohesion, but it can also threat the economic future of small communities. For example, a perception of social problems within some rural towns can discourage investors, tourism and potential new community members. It becomes an important public and political issue.

Increasing urbanisation and modernisation can be some factors that impact rural crime activity, because they bring demographic, economic and social changes. Understanding community life is therefore essential to understanding community crime.

There are a number of key issues that have come to the fore in the study of rural crime. These areas of research include:

  • Farm and property crime
  • Environmental crime and illegal hunting
  • Interpersonal violence in rural communities
  • Public attitudes towards crime and criminal justice
  • Policing rural communities
  • Aboriginal justice
  • Access to justice and community programs
  • Criminological dimensions of food and agriculture
  • Drug use, production and trafficking in the rural context.
Thematic research areas 

To accomplish the centre’s aims, researchers will be exploring the core research theme of 'Rurality, crime and society'. Within this overarching theme, five thematic research areas and networks have been developed. If you are researching in any (or several) of these areas and are interested in connecting with other researchers working in this field reach out to the thematic leaders of each group:

In the media


The Conversation articles

Research articles


Rurality, Crime and Society 

  • Issue 1 - April 2020
  • Join the rural crime mailing list

    If you would like to keep up to date with news and projects relating to rural criminology, please email Professor Joe Donnermeyer, Ohio State University, and request to be added to a mailing list about all things rural crime.

    Our members

    Executive board 

    Associate Professor Glenn Porter, Director of the Centre for Rural Criminology: University of New England

    Dr Kyle J.D. Mulrooney, Co-Director of the Centre for Rural Criminology: University of New England

    Professor Joseph Donnermeyer, Professor Emeritus: Ohio State University

    Dr Bridget Harris, School of Justice: Queensland University of Technology

    Dr Alistair Harkness, Criminology: University of New England

    Secretary: Dr Jenny Wise, Criminology: University of New England

    Advisory committee

    Professor Walter Dekeseredy, Director Research Centre on Violence: West Virginia University

    Professor Kerry Carrington, Head of School of Justice: Queensland University of Technology

    Professor Rob White, Criminology: University of Tasmania

    Professor Russell Hogg, School of Justice: Queensland University of Technology

    Professor John Scott, School of Justice: Queensland University of Technology

    Professor Chris Cunneen, Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education & Research: University of Technology Sydney

    Professor Martin Schwartz, Professor Emeritus: Ohio University

    Dr Willie Clack, Criminal Justice: University of South Africa & Vice Chairperson at Red Meat Producers Organisation.

    Research associates

    Dr Katinka van de Ven, Drug Policy Modelling Program, University of New South Wales

    Dr Jenny Wise, Criminology, University of New England

    Dr Matthew Allen, History/Criminology, University of New England

    Dr Natalie Thomas, Institute for Social Science Research, University of Queensland

    Dr Oluwagbenga (Michael) Akinlabi, Northumbria University

    Emmanuel Bunei, PhD candidate, University of New England

    Professor Lisa Waller, Media and Communications, RMIT University

    Associate Professor Megan Williams, Portfolio of Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Strategy and Services)

    Dr Bec Strating, Politics and Philosophy, La Trobe University

    Dr Andrew Groves, Criminology, Deakin University

    Dr Kreseda Smith, Harper Adams University

    Associate Professor Robyn Bartel, Geography and Planning, University of New England

    Dr Tanya Howard, Australian Centre for Agriculture and Law, University of New England

    Professor Paul Martin, Director Australian Centre for Agriculture and Law, University of New England

    Associate Professor Bob Boughton, Education, University of New England

    Dr Tarah Hodgkinson, Criminology, Griffith University

    Dr Nicole Ryan, School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Griffith University

    Professor Rick Ruddell, Chair in Police Studies, University of Regina

    Dr Michael Kennedy, Western Sydney University

    Dr Phillip Birch, Charles Sturt University

    Associate Professor David Roberts, History, The University of New England

    Dr Jo Coghlan, Sociology, The University of New England

    Associate Professor Alyce McGovern, Criminology, University of New South Wales

    Mark Harrison, Head of Heritage Crime Strategy, Historic England, UK

    Dr Louise Nicholas, Senior Lecturer in Criminology and Social Policy, School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Loughborough University, Leicestershire, UK

    Associate Professor Angus Nurse, Environmental Justice, Middlesex University, UK.

    Assistant Professor Ziwei Qi, Department of Criminal Justice, Fort Hayes State University, US

    Associate Professor Skye Saunders, Faculty of Science, Agriculture, Business and Law, University of New England

    Dr Kip Werren, School of Law, University of New England

    Associate Professor Omar Al Farooque, Accounting, Faculty of Science, Agriculture, Business and Law, University of New England

    Associate Professor Leah East, School of Health, University of New England

    Dr Bernadine Cooks, School of Psychology, University of New England

    Dr Faith Gordon, Law, The Australian National University

    Dr Daniel Newman, Law and Politics, Cardiff University

    Dr Richard Byrne VR, Harper Admas University, UK

    Professor Nigel South, Department of Sociology, University of Essex, UK

    Dr Mieke Snijder, Institute of Developmental Studies, UK

    Dr Laura Bedford, Criminology, Deakin University

    Dr Katrina Clifford, School of Communication and Creative Arts, Deakin University

    Dr Liz Temple, School of Psychology, University of New England

    Andrew Brown, Senior Advisor Governance, Armidale Regional Council

    Matt Bowden, Senior Lecturer, Head of Research College of Arts & Tourism, Technology University Dublin

    Melina Stewart-North, Federation University

    Danielle Watson, School of Justice, Queensland University of Technology

    Maria Dimitriou, Heritage Architect, Heritage Crime Advisor and Coordinator of the Heritage and Wildlife Crime Innovation Hub (HaWC-i)

    David Rodríguez Goyes, Department of Criminology and Sociology of Law, University of Oslo, Norway

    Alex Baird, PhD Candidate in Criminology, Deakin University