The Crime Experiences of the Amish


  • Joseph F. Donnermeyer The Ohio State University



emic, etic, Federal Bureau of Investigation, The Diary, crime, victimization


There is little published research in peer-reviewed journals about Amish experiences with crime, with the exception of work by Byers and colleagues (Byers, 2008; Byers & Crider, 2002; Byers et al., 1999). The purpose of this article is to explore the crime experiences of the Amish, based on reports by scribes found under “Community Notes” in The Diary, one of several periodicals devoted to reporting news and events from Amish communities. Two hundred forty narratives of Amish crime experiences from 13 years’ worth of The Diary (January 2010 through December 2022) were collected and organized by crime type. Based on these narratives, there are two important findings. First, crime is not infrequent, with a diversity of crime experiences, ranging from burglary to armed robbery. Second, the most frequently described incidents in these narratives were property crimes, such as burglary/attempted burglary, larceny/attempted larceny, scams/attempted scams, and vandalism. The article concludes with recommendations for future research about crime and the Amish, suggestions for culturally appropriate educational materials for crime prevention in Amish homes and businesses, and suggestions for more effective cooperation between the Amish and the criminal justice system.