A professor at the University of Regina has published a book which takes a look at the downside to boom towns.
Dr. Rick Ruddell has a new book called Oil, Gas, and Crime: The Dark Side of the Boomtown, and mainly focused on Fort McMurray, Alberta and Bakken North Dakota when doing his research.
Ruddell says with the increased population after a boom begins, there is serious difficulty in enforcing the law.
“The Police became over-stretched, they couldn’t respond to the increase to the amount of crime, disorder, and anti-social behaviour,” Ruddell says. “They were stretched really thin. They had real difficulty getting enough officers to patrol those areas. What a lot of police departments and sheriff departments found was they couldn’t afford to pay their officers to live in those areas because the cost of living was so high.”
Ruddell, Chair of the Law Foundation of Saskatchewan, says just because the boom ends, doesn’t mean the crime which coincides with the boom ends.
“What we were sort of finding when we look at Alberta, when the boom ended, all of a sudden families became very stressed,” Ruddell says. You lose your job, unemployment starts running out, you’re lifestyle is maybe based on a very healthy wage, and all of a sudden you’re living on a fraction of that. That’s caused a lot of stress on families.”
Ruddell says the best way to keep the boom under control is strict law enforcement from the beginning of the boom.
Ruddell first took interest when teaching in California while he was researching the effects of the Gold Rush.