Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy tackles the most relevant and “hard-to-answer” questions of crime and justice at 2024 symposium

Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy tackles the most relevant and “hard-to-answer” questions of crime and justice at 2024 symposium
More than 400 registrants gathered in Mason Square for CEBCP’s largest symposium to date. Photo by Max Taylor

On June 20, 2024, George Mason University’s Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy (CEBCP) held its largest symposium to date, focused on “Hard Questions for Evidence-Based Crime Policy.” More than three dozen experts in crime and justice gathered at Mason Square where they exchanged ideas with over 400 registrants on several topics, including reducing victimization harm; improving mental health response by justice practitioners; examining alternatives to criminal justice systems; re-thinking community-based violence prevention; intervening with persons at high risk for gun violence; stop-question-and-frisk policies; reducing disparity in the justice system; advancing effective juvenile justice strategies; improving recruitment and retention of officers; and developing the capacity for organizations to implement evidence-based crime policy.

David Weisburd, CEBCP executive director and distinguished university professor of Criminology, Law and Society, presents at the 2024 CEBCP symposium. Photo by Max Taylor

In addition, eight policing leaders were inducted into the Evidence-Based Policing Hall of Fame, an honor given to police practitioners devoted to institutionalizing research findings into policing practice. The Distinguished Achievement Award in Evidence-Based Crime Policy, the Center’s highest honor, was also presented to Professor Anthony Braga of the University of Pennsylvania and Jerry Lee, of the Jerry Lee Foundation, recognizing their longstanding leadership and achievements in advancing evidence-based crime policy.

Cynthia Lum, CEBCP director and distinguished university professor of Criminology, Law and Society, notes that CEBCP has a national and international footprint that makes it one of the leading research and translational centers in criminology and criminal justice.

"The symposium gives George Mason University and the CEBCP the opportunity to take a leadership role in advocating for more investment in rigorous research for criminal justice and to think carefully with others about how that research might be institutionalized into policies and practices to improve the quality of justice systems," Lum said.

Across the nation’s criminology and criminal justice academic departments, the CEBCP remains unique in its mission, goals, and activities, being one of the few, if only, academic centers that conduct rigorous research while regularly investing in synergistic efforts like symposia, congressional briefings, and publication of Translational Criminology, CEBCP’s magazine.

The symposium, which has occurred yearly since 2009 and which now occurs every two years because of its size, involves leadership from local, state, and national government agencies, universities, research think tanks, and community groups as both presenters and participants. Nancy La Vigne, director of the National Institute of Justice, U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs, spoke in a panel discussing the scientific evidence on alternative approaches to traditional criminal justice responses. La Vigne praised the CEBCP symposium as “a resounding success, featuring high-quality content, credible experts, and real-world, evidence-informed applications.”