Steve Chapman has a piece in Reason looking at the reverse-snobbery of rural dwellers, and provides some uncomfortable facts about small town life to suggest that small town folks are in no sense “morally superior” to their urban and suburban counterparts.
Towards the end he acknowledges that crime rates are higher in denser populations than in the country, and cites some reasons that may be.
I have another question though: what about unreported crime? How much assault and domestic abuse occurs in small towns that never gets reported? My personal experience of small town life is that bar fights occur frequently and without warning, and sometimes the people involved are neither thrown out or even cutoff at the bar. In my experience drinking in bars in big cities, bar fights are rare and when they occur the offending patrons are thrown out and sometimes the police are called.
And I have the feeling that in places where licensed counselors tell women that they should accept domestic abuse because the bible says so, there will be considerably fewer reports of violence than in an area dense with apartments with neighbors calling in domestic abuse calls whenever someone raises their voice.