Weisburd Receives High-Profile Criminology Prize

by Anne Reynolds

Weisburd Receives High-Profile Criminology Prize

David Weisburd, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Criminology, Law and Society and Executive Director of the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy at George Mason University, has been recognized by the American Society of Criminology as the recipient of the 2014 Edwin Sutherland Award.

Considered to be the society’s highest academic honor, the Sutherland Award was established in 1960. It is named for Edwin Sutherland, a pioneer in the field who is often described as the father of modern criminology. The award is given in recognition of a single work or a body of work that represents a major contribution  to theory or research in criminology or the etiology of criminal and deviant behavior, the criminal justice system, corrections, law, or justice.

Weisburd’s nomination for the 2014 award noted his extensive work on the geographical concentration of crime and its implications for effective policing. His work has been lauded for its sound scientific bases and execution, as well as its significant influence on crime prevention and reduction policies. The nomination also addressed Weisburd’s important work examining white collar criminals, which refined the understanding of their profiles and the character of their crimes, and Weisburd’s important work in advancing evaluation research and experimental methods in criminology. 

The nomination was led by Professor Daniel S. Nagin, the Theresa and H. John Heinz III University Professor of Public Policy and Statistics at Carnegie Mellon University. Thirty-four co-signers to the nominating letter, representing institutions as far flung as Australian National University, Vrije University Amsterdam, University of Colorado, University of Cambridge, University of Maryland, Temple University, and Duke University, and which included scholars right here at Mason, attest to the widespread endorsement of his fellow scholars. 

“David is one of those rare scholars who not only is incredibly smart, innovative, and original, but who genuinely cares about advancing the field through service and the mentorship of others,” says Cynthia Lum, associate professor and director of the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy. “So many of his former students have made significant contributions in criminology and work with each other to this day. The CEBCP has been able to have a major impact in criminal justice practice under his leadership.” 

Weisburd adds this recognition to an already impressive collection of accolades, including the Stockholm Prize in Criminology, the Klachky Family Award for the Advancement of the Frontiers of Science, the Joan McCord Award (of the Academy of Experimental Criminology), as well as two other major awards this year--the Robert Buruch Award for Distinctive Contributions to Public Policy (from the Campbell Collaboration), and the Jerry Lee Lifetime Achievement Award from the Division of Experimental Criminology of the American Society of Criminology.  

“I have focused in my career on challenging the dominant paradigms of criminology, especially in regard to focusing the lens of criminology on crime at places rather than on the criminal motivations of offenders,” said Weisburd. “It is very gratifying to be recognized by receipt of the key prizes in criminology, first with the Stockholm Prize in Criminology in 2010 and now with the Sutherland Award from the American Society of Criminology. Only five other criminologists in the world have been recognized in this way, and in my case I am particularly proud of the accomplishment because it suggests that my challenge to conventional criminology has been heard.”