Theresa May visited the Lancashire Evening Post offices with Andrew Pratt, the Conservative candidate for the police and crime commissioner (PCC) for the county.
The pair said policing needed to become more innovative, as resources were stretched and crime changed.
Mr Pratt said the neighbourhood policing model was becoming “very fragile in some areas”.
He said: “It’s still there, but our rural communities are the areas that have some of the greatest difficulties.
“It’s partly a resourcing issue, partly making best use of the staff we’ve got, and partly where we place them.
“There are only six custody suites left in the county, and that’s basically the six main police stations, out of what used to be 40 to 50 police stations.”
He said: “Where we’ve got more people there will be more crime, but it’s trying to make sure we don’t lose the focus on those communities.”
The Home Secretary said it was important for police to understand the significance of rural crime, and said: “As a farmer, if you’ve spent money on a key bit of kit and that’s taken, that can be really difficult.
“After introducing the PCCs, they’ve set up a national rural crime network because of this recognition that dealing with rural crime is different to dealing with crime in other areas.”
Speaking about the changing face of crime and policing, Mrs May added: “It’s being more creative and innovative and thinking about how to provide that visibility.
“There is a challenge to police in that crime is changing, so the police officer walking down the street might spot somebody who may be about to steal a car, but doesn’t spot the person sitting in the back bedroom defrauding elderly residents online.”