Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Robison, Kristopher

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Sociology


This study explores the social implications of climate change and environmental degradation on deviant and criminal behavior. This study employs general strain theory to examine the effectiveness of city-level climate change mitigation actions in reducing crime rates. Through a systematic approach, this study reviews literature on environmental harms and community strain and explores the impact of local pro-environmental policies on crime reduction. Focusing on the United States, UCR crime rate reports and UN-guided Sustainable Development Goal data are analyzed at the US county level. The findings suggest that sustainable practices, especially those related to local infrastructure and community engagement, could prove useful in reducing criminal activity. Sustainable development practices focused on nature accessibility and localized climate action can alleviate strain and impact crime rates. However, further research is needed to understand the relationship between sustainable development and manifestations of strain. This study emphasizes the need for practical and locally grounded sustainability projects, recognizing the limitations of community-level efforts in addressing broader systemic issues.


72 pages




Northern Illinois University

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In Copyright

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NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type