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USA Canada University white collar crime experts offer advice to fight commercial crime.

COMPANIES fighting commercial crime are always on the lookout for new resources and tools to deal with the problem. Where better to look than the world's best universities in the USA? Monica Dobie reports.

THE UNIVERSITY of Maryland's Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice is a national and international leader in research into crime and justice. According to a 2005 US News and World Reports ranking of the quality of Criminology and Criminal Justice Doctoral programs, the Maryland programme ranked number one out of the 32 programs surveyed.

The programme offers graduate students advance course work in theory and practice, and cutting edge analytical skills that enable them to both conduct and understand criminological research.

Companies, as well as students can benefit from all this expertise. Academics will advise companies, although they may have to pay, and they publish papers, many full of cutting edge information and theory about the best way to fight commercial crime. See--

One such expert is Professor Sally S. Simpson Chair of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the university. Her research interests include corporate crime, criminological theory, and the intersection between gender, race, class, and crime. As a past president of the USA White-Collar Crime Research Consortium and chair of the Crime, Law and Deviance Section of the American Sociological Association, she has gained valuable insights, readily available in a key text book on corporate crime--'Corporate Crime, Law, and Social Control'. This examines the failures of the criminal justice system to deter commercial crime and suggests alternative strategies to cope with the problem.

Her Maryland colleague Prof David Weisburd (a great name for a professor) is also an expert in white-collar crime. He has been a member of the USA's National Academy of Sciences Panel on Police Policies and Practices and its Working Group on Evaluation of Anti-Crime Programmes. Prof Weisburd is an elected fellow of the American Society of Criminology and of the Academy of Experimental Criminology and author or editor of 12 books and more than seventy scientific articles, and has written extensively on criminal mapping, dispute resolution to avoid companies conflicting and resorting to crime, and controlling commercial crime through developing an understanding of its roots.

The University of Cincinnati's doctoral programme in criminal justice began in 1992, and quickly became one of the top rated programmes in the US. This is designed to develop social scientists that have the ability to consume, transmit, and independently produce research knowledge on crime and criminal justice.

It is peppered with crime experts. Professor Michael Benson is a white collar/corporate crime specialist who has published extensively in leading journals, including Criminology, Justice Quarterly, Journal of Research and Delinquency, American Sociological Review, the American Journal of Sociology, and Social Problems. He teaches criminological theory, white-collar crime, and life-course theory.

Another is Associate Professor John Paul Wright. He is co-editor of Crimes of Privilege and a reader on white-collar crime.

Going west, the University of California Irvine's (UCI) PhD course in Criminology, Law and Society focuses on the causes, manifestations and consequences of crime; the impacts of crime on society, social regulation, the civil justice system, the social and cultural contexts of law and the interactive effects of law and society.

This programme aims to develop theoretical and methodological sophistication to prepare students for faculty positions at major universities and colleges, and for research, training, and administrative work in the legal system.

A key specialist here is Henry N Pontell is professor of criminology, law and society at the university's school of social ecology and sociology. His areas of research and teaching interest include white-collar and corporate crime, punishment and criminal justice system capacity issues, medical fraud, financial crime, identity theft, and cyber crime.

Dr Pontell's work on white-collar and corporate crime has been highlighted in the national and international media.

Gil Geis, a retired professor at UCI is an authority on white collar crime and author of several books and periodicals on the subject including his seminal "White Collar Crime: Offenses in Business, Politics and The Professions".

Meanwhile, the University of Florida's criminology department is one of the largest departments on crime in the USA. Its professors have backgrounds in anthropology, criminal justice, criminology, education, history, law, psychology, social ecology, and sociology. Nicole Leeper Piquero is an assistant professor University of Florida, Department of Criminology, Law and Society. Her research focuses on corporate/white collar crime, criminological theory, general strain theory, police and emotions.

Richard Hollinger is a professor and director of the department's Security Research Project. His expertise includes crime and deviance in the workplace, white-collar crime, employee theft, occupational crime, computer crime, and retail crime. He has written "Theft by Employees," Lexington Books (1983); "Dishonesty in the Workplace: A Manager's Guide to Preventing Employee Theft," London House (1989); and "Crime, Deviance and the Computer," Dartmouth/Ashgate (1997).

North America is not just about the USA, of course and institutions in Canada may also offer helpful advice. The University of Ottawa has the only bilingual Department of Criminology in Canada, for instance (French and English). The department offers students opportunities to acquire both academic training in criminology and practical experience in criminal justice agencies. Fernando Acosta is an associate professor at the University of Ottawa's criminology department.

He specialises in corporate crime, political corruption, professional misconduct in the field of medical care, life threatening incidents in the workplace, environmental hazards and police misconduct.

At another Ontario university, Laureen Snyder is a professor at the University of Queens sociology department.

She specialises in Sociology of Law & Corporate Crime; Feminism & the Criminal Justice System; Social Control, Punishment; Punitiveness & Modernity. Ms Snyder has written "Corporate Crime: Contemporary Debates", Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1995, and "Bad Business: Corporate Crime in Canada," Toronto: Nelson, 1993.

Academics do not always research, study and teach in their universities. They often work alongside expert bodies that focus entirely on their area of expertise. The White Collar Crime Research Consortium, for instance, is composed primarily of academics and anti-white collar crime expert practitioners. It is part of the National White Collar Crime Center (NWCCC) in Washington DC, a non-profit organisation that helps both law enforcement and the public seeking information on commercial crime prevention.

It issues reports and other documents on white collar crime as well as staging seminars and stockpiling research contacts.


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Author:Dobie, Monica
Publication:International News
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Jul 1, 2007
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