Ronald Clark To Receive Research Excellence Award

Ronald Clarke
Dr. Ronald Clarke

Ronald Clarke will be honored Nov. 14 by Rutgers University, Newark, with the Chancellor’s Excellence Award for exceptional contributions to research. Immediately prior to the award ceremony and reception, Clarke will give a public talk on “Criminology and the Conservation of Endangered Species,” explaining his research on wildlife crime -- the poaching of endangered species and illegal killing of wildlife.

This free event will be Thursday, Nov. 14, from 4:30 -7 p.m., in the Paul Robeson Campus Center Multipurpose Room, 350 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Newark NJ 07102-1898.

Clarke, a university professor in the Rutgers School of Criminal Justice, is a resident of Milburn, N.J.  His research focuses on environmental criminology and situational crime prevention, in relation to the problem of poaching of endangered species, by examining poaching markets and the likely intervention points to disrupt them.

Interim Chancellor Todd Clear, who will present the award, stated, “Dr. Clarke is the founding theorist of one of the most influential approaches to crime prevention in the field of criminology: situational crime prevention.  Reviews of the field have named him one of the 50 most important thinkers in criminology since the beginnings of the field almost two centuries ago. Dr. Clarke is in constant international demand as a speaker, and has produced a movement in criminology through mentoring dozens of students.”


Commenting on his research, Clark explains, “At first sight, criminology and conservation might seem to have little in common; conservation is concerned with protecting endangered habitats, while criminology seeks to explain what motivates people to commit crime.” He notes, however, that “academic criminology is defined as ‘the study of crime and society’s response to crime,’ and endangered species are threatened not just by habitat loss but also by the crime of poaching.” He observes, “Some of the world’s most charismatic and iconic species – elephants, rhinos, tigers and many others – are constantly preyed upon by poachers who constitute a threat to their very existence,” adding, “This is why the Rutgers School of Criminal Justice has embarked on a program of research on poaching and illegal killing of wildlife.”

His talk will discuss the objectives of the research, the novel criminology that underpins the work, and the completed studies on illegal fishing and the poaching of Indian tigers, African elephants and South American parrots.

The annual Chancellor’s Excellence Awards were created to celebrate the accomplishments of faculty, staff, and students on a campus recognized for the quality of its teaching, research and service.  Honorees in each of the three categories receive a small grant supporting their work on campus, and the research honorees give a presentation explaining their research.  The other honorees are Dr. Robert Puhak, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Math & Computer Science Department, recipient of the Excellence in Teaching award, resident of Cranford, N.J.; and Dr. Suzanne Willard, associate clinical professor, College of Nursing (now part of the Rutgers Health Sciences campus at Newark), resident of Philadelphia, PA.

Clarks holds the BA in psychology and philosophy from the University of Bristol, England, and the MA in clinical psychology and the PhD in psychology, both from the                             University of London.

Clarke worked for 15 years in the British government’s criminological research department, where he jointly developed the rational choice perspective on crime and helped to launch the British Crime Survey. He also led the team that originated situational crime prevention.

Clarke is author or joint author of more than 250 publications, including Superhighway Robbery: Preventing E-commerce Crime (2003); Become a Problem Solving Crime Analyst (U.S. Dept of Justice, 2005); Outsmarting the Terrorists (Praeger, 2006); and Situational Prevention of Organised Crimes (Willan, 2011).

Since coming to Rutgers in 1987, Clarke has mentored numerous graduate students and published numerous journal articles with his students, many in top criminal justice and criminology journals. He is the associate director of the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing (, an applied crime prevention institute funded by the U.S. Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. Clarke is the primary developer of one of the most important new theories in criminology, the “Rational Choice Perspective,” which focuses on the role of criminal decision- making in understanding crime events.

For information on Clarke: