5 February 2016
A book that focuses on the practical ways communities can work together to reduce crime has earned a University of the Sunshine Coast academic a prestigious industry award.
Professor Tim Prenzler, who coordinates USC’s Bachelor of Criminology and Justice, recently received the Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology’s (ANZSOC) Adam Sutton Crime Prevention Award for his book Professional Practice in Crime Prevention and Security Management.
The prize is awarded each year to the crime prevention publication that best demonstrates pragmatic, workable solutions to Australasian crime problems, and reflects the values of a tolerant and inclusive society.
Professor Prenzler, who edited the book and co-wrote six of its chapters, said the book provided an evidence-based counterpoint to popular community beliefs about crime.
“The book actually conveys a good news story: that crime can be greatly reduced across communities, often by means that facilitate environmental amenity and social equity,” he said.
Successful techniques covered in the book include situational prevention and crime prevention through environmental design, which consider how social and physical contexts can be adapted to reduce opportunities for crime.
Professor Prenzler said the book also emphasised the need for a multi-dimensional approach including early childhood, community development and criminal justice interventions, and the value of focussing resources on vulnerable sections of the population.
“That might include enhanced security in public housing, transport and public spaces, or reducing opportunities for young people to engage in lower-level crimes, such as burglary or motor vehicle theft, which can serve as stepping-stones to criminal careers,” he said.
Professor Prenzler, who joined USC in 2015 after more than 20 years at Griffith University’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, was presented with the award at ANZSOC’s annual conference in Adelaide in November.
“Adam Sutton was a passionate advocate for crime prevention and a pioneer in applied crime prevention research in Australia, so it was an honour to receive an award that bears his name and perpetuates his memory,” he said.
— Jarna Baudinette