Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Rise of sexual predators in energy boomtowns highlights social problems

19.02.2010
Research into the social and environmental effects on communities that are economically dependent on oil and gas industries has revealed "social dysfunction and biological impoverishment."

The research, published in Conservation Biology, revealed that over a nine year period the number of registered sex offenders in energy 'boomtowns' was two to three times higher than towns dependent on other industries.

The research, carried out by Dr Joel Berger and Dr Jon P. Beckmann, analysed communities in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) in Wyoming USA, an area often referred to as the largest intact ecosystem in Earth's temperate zone. Many towns across the area are dependent on energy extraction, while others are dependent on agriculture and tourism. The authors assessed whether social and environmental issues are related to the industries that dominate these boomtowns.

"In the past few years it has become clear that the development of wide-scale energy projects takes both social and environmental tolls," said Berger from the University of Montana and Wildlife Conservation Society. "Our research identified societal markers to reveal the negative elements associated with changing human economies and to gauge changes in both community composition and services. One of these markers was the increase in sexual predators."

Through nine local county attorney's offices the authors were able to study the number of registered sexual offenders, defined as convicted felons that are required by law to register with legal authorities, across the Greater Yellowstone area.

The research revealed that over a nine year period the number of sexual offenders grew by two to three times more in areas dependent on oil extraction than in similar areas dependent on agriculture or tourism.

In 2008 there were 300% more sexual offenders in the GYE than in 1997 when the US Sex Offenders Registry became law. The number of sex offenders increased most rapidly in counties dominated by oil and gas extraction.

"The absolute and relative frequency of registered sexual offenders grew faster in areas reliant on energy extraction," Berger confirmed. "This is a severe symptom of the social problems faced by these communities. These problems, coupled with a parallel rise in ecological destruction, fit a pattern which has been reflected consistently around energy boomtowns from Ecuador to northern Canada."

"This is not to say that the arrival of the energy industry into a community directly leads to sexual predation. Rather it is symptomatic of wider social and economic issues which communities face when they become dependent on the rise and fall of these industries," said Beckmann from the Wildlife Conservation Society. "Our findings underscore an increase in sexual predators as a result of the dramatic social upheaval caused when a large influx of people are attracted to energy boomtowns due to high rates of employment and high salaries."

Other symptoms of social change seen in energy boomtowns across the western United States include the use of illicit drugs, domestic violence, wildlife poaching and a general rise in crime. The research suggests that these changes occur because of the differences between the traditional rural residents and the incoming workforce.

The link between these social issues and environmental change has led to the rise of unlikely alliances as social advocates and state agencies have banded together across the area to conserve the potential for traditional rural lifestyles.

"Our findings suggest that the public and industry need stronger regulatory action to instil greater vigilance in areas which face ecological, economic and social problems, due to dependence on the energy industry," concluded Berger.

Ben Norman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wiley.com

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>