Distinguished Faculty Member Dr. Ronald Clarke Wins Prestigious Stockholm Prize in Criminology

Distinguished faculty member Dr. Ronald Clarke of the Rutgers School of Criminal Justice (SCJ) has received what is generally considered to be the top prize in criminology: the Stockholm Prize in Criminology. Clarke shares the award with fellow criminologist Patricia Mayhew, officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, for developing the innovative theory of situational crime prevention.

The 1,000,000 Swedish kronor prize (approximately $135,500) recognizes “outstanding achievements in criminological research or for the application of research results by practitioners for the reduction of crime and the advancement of human rights,” according to the Swedish Ministry of Justice, which established the award. Clarke and Mayhew will receive the prize at a ceremony in Stockholm City Hall on June 9, 2015.

Clarke and Mayhew’s collaborative research in the 1970s led to the publication of Crime as Opportunity, a paper that refuted the prevailing paradigm that linked crime with offenders’ psychological and socioeconomic conditions. Their evidence suggested that crime was the result of opportunities provided by physical environments and circumstances, and could consequently be prevented by altering these circumstances.

The Stockholm Prize in Criminology honors Clarke’s and Mayhew’s joint and individual achievements as criminologists whose careers exemplify excellence and dedication to their field, explains Shadd Maruna, dean of the School of Criminal Justice.

“This is a tremendous honor for Ron and a fantastic recognition of the work of the Rutgers School of Criminal Justice as we celebrate our 40th Anniversary as well,” says Dr. Maruna. “The impact that Professor Clarke and his students have had on the field of criminology over the past four decades has been immeasurable, and this prize should draw welcome attention to this groundbreaking research that is very much carrying on here at the school.”

“I have spent a career trying to prove beyond doubt that ‘opportunity makes the thief’ and that society can reduce crime by reducing opportunities,” says Clarke. “Criminologists and policy makers have often disputed these claims, believing that criminals will always find a way to commit crime. Perhaps this prize signals a change in attitudes. My dream is that we will see more effort and resources devoted to preventing crime and less to pursuing and punishing offenders.”

Clarke conducted his research with Mayhew while employed at the Home Office Research and Planning Unit for the British government’s criminology department.  He joined Rutgers University–Newark in 1987 as dean of the School of Criminal Justice, and held that position until 1998. Currently an SCJ professor and associate director of the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing, Clarke continues to influence the field of criminology through his trailblazing research and practical applications. In 2014, RU–N acknowledged his achievements with the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship.

Dr. Clarke, a resident of Milburn, New Jersey, earned his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of London. His areas of expertise include rational choice theory, situational crime prevention, problem-oriented policing and crime analysis, and wildlife crime. Clarke has authored more than 250 scholarly works and is recognized as a leading authority in the field of criminology.


Dr. Ronald Clarke’s biography and CV

Criminology Prize Winners 2015