The Illinois Board of Higher Education has approved Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Center for Crime Science and Violence Prevention (CCSVP) at the Southwestern Illinois Justice and Workforce Development Center in Belleville. The Center is a first in the region and will strive to strengthen evidence-based practices in criminal justice with a focus on violence reduction.
“The CCSVP will develop strong partnerships between academics and practitioners to improve the way justice is delivered,” said Dennis Mares, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Criminal Justice. “The Center will offer opportunities for students including internships and research opportunities on grants and projects. I am excited to involve students in experiential learning projects as these offer insights that traditional coursework doesn’t provide.”
The Center will work with several police departments in the region, helping the agencies obtain the resources they need including lowering the levels of violence, improving crime analysis and data communication to the public.
“SIUE has always been community focused, and we want to carry that torch at CCSVP and provide added value to our region,” Mares continued. “The success of the CCSVP will translate into more opportunities for our students, staff and faculty to be involved in funded research, publication and develop relationships with the community at large. Given how large a topic public safety has always been, the Center will create a lot of opportunities for SIUE to communicate to the public and become a leader in the region.”
“We are very excited about the opening of the Center,” said Jerry Weinberg, associate provost for research and dean of the Graduate School. “New opportunities will be created to partner with community organizations, local government offices and law enforcement agencies to provide research and training in support of new initiative for social justice, crime reduction and violence prevention.”
The Southwestern Illinois Justice and Workforce Development Center will be home to not only the CCSVP but will also be the home site for SIUE’s new forensic sciences master’s program and future degrees and initiatives of SIUE The Belleville campus has a focus on workforce development. The CCSVP will meet that focus by training students in geospatial skills and data analytics, providing them with essential background in a labor market that increasingly values those skills.