Centre of Criminology

Centre of Criminology – Organisation


South Africa


National (all SA), Western Cape


Cape Town


Centre of Criminology
Faculty of Law
University of Cape Town
Private Bag, Rondebosch, 7701


The Centre of Criminology is a niche research organisation within the Faculty of Law at the University of Cape Town, committed to advancing research and policy analysis on critical issues of public safety, criminal justice and evolving forms of crime.  

In the past two years, research topics have ranged from the local to the global, including detailed qualitative work conducted on illicit trafficking and organised crime in Africa and West Africa, poly-substance users and the Cape Town illicit drug market, alternative forms of policing in South Africa, and extortion markets in in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Other developing themes have included environmental risk and security; developments and challenges for policing, both public, private and community driven; organised crime and illicit trafficking in South Africa and Africa, including with a focus on the evolution of criminal networks in fragile states and their impact on governance, democracy, livelihoods and the environment; criminal justice policy challenges, with an emphasis on developing country contexts; and violent crime - with particular attention to its impact on youth and women.

In the recent past, the Centre has hosted high-level conferences on gangs, organized crime and wildlife trafficking, drawing international audiences, and through our associations with policymakers and practitioners at national level and in major multi-lateral institutions, our research and policy work is having an impact on national, regional and global debates. 

Pivotal to the Centre’s mandate is the critical importance of addressing safety issues as a core challenge of holistic development. To do this successfully requires stretching the boundaries of criminology in ways that will enable it to recognise and respond to the changing international, regional and local landscape of risk. The Centre of Criminology is pushing the boundaries of the discipline, and encourages its students to think innovatively about challenges to public safety and human security. 

The Department of Science and Technology and the National Research Foundation’s South African Research Chair in Justice and Security in Africa is hosted within the Centre.  

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