The International Society for the Study of Rural Crime (ISSRC) is made up of scholars, students and practitioners from around the world, with an interest in research aimed at reducing the scourge of crime in all its forms in rural areas.

The society launched its annual awards programme in 2020, offering awards in three categories:

  • The Joseph F Donnermeyer New Scholar Award.
  • The ISSRC Research Student Award.
  • The ISSRC Policy, Practice and Engagement Award.

The 2021 ISSRC Research Student Award was presented to Cecili Doorewaard from the University of South Africa. The panel was unanimous in their decision of awarding Cecili the ISSRC Research Student Award for 2021.

The Research Student Award is given to research students (honours/master’s/PhD students) for a sole-authored piece of writing associated with their research (unpublished or published) in rural criminology.

While all of the applications produced excellent work, Cecili’s research stood out in large part due to its novelty, depth of insight and, ultimately, significant contribution to the field of rural criminology.

Her study explored, described and explained the criminal behaviour associated with livestock theft. While farm crime is a field with a relatively healthy empirical basis, very little is known about the perpetrators of these crimes themselves. Cecili’s work, therefore, provides new insight into offender characteristics, modus operandi and motive.

Importantly, Cecili took these findings and considered them in the context of criminological theory to help explain the how and why of livestock theft, and what drives offenders to commit such acts.

Such information is valuable from the perspective of policy and practice. To this end, Cecili also drew on these important findings to make several key recommendations to enable the criminal justice system and livestock owners to tackle livestock theft.

In short, this work deserves to be recognised and awarded, and rural criminologists more broadly would do well to follow Cecili’s lead and consider criminal behaviour associated with livestock theft from a comparative international perspective. – Press release, ISSRC

Watch an Afrikaans interview with Cecili on Farm TV where she discusses South African livestock theft.