A case study of rural crime and policing in Pomurje region in Slovenia
Abstract null null Rural environments are specific for some crime forms, which can be divided into four categories: 1) agricultural or farm crime, 2) equine crime, 3) wildlife crime, and 4) heritage crime (Hacin and Eman, 2019). Pomurje is one of the most remote and least developed regions in Slovenia, where the rural environment predominates. In the article, the rural crime occurrence and related rural policing in areas of Pomurje are discussed. We analysed crime statistics and conducted structured interviews with the commanders of five police stations in the area of Police Directorate Murska Sobota, where each police station's area has its specifics with accordingly organized police work. Individual criminal offences are typical in all areas and do not differ from criminal offences in urban areas (e.g., theft, robbery, vandalism, fraud). Illegal migration, crime related to motorway stops along the Pomurje motorway, environmental crime, crime related to Roma, domestic violence, especially against the women and elderly, and the production of illegal drugs are the most prominent forms of rural crime in the Pomurje region. Socio-economic factors of smaller environments are reflected in rural settings and impact crime and policing. The police work in rural areas depends on residents' trust and respect for the police. This significantly affects the resident's willingness to cooperate with the police. Small size, mutual knowledge, and coherence reduce police operations' rigor and affect police officers' judgment. Police officers in Pomurje stick to the words 'together with the people for a safe local community'. Results show that police officers in a rural environment perceive neighbourhood safety more positively than colleagues in the urban environment. Good interpersonal relations and cooperation with the residents, committed and professional police officers, and management support are essential factors for successful policing in rural areas, reflected in a high percentage of investigated criminal offences.