Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Criminal Justice


Gohar Petrossian

Committee Members

Eric Piza

Michael Maxfield

Andrew Lemieux

Subject Categories

Community-Based Research | Criminology | Criminology and Criminal Justice | Environmental Studies | Nature and Society Relations | Place and Environment | Tourism


Crime Science, Wildlife Crime, Bushmeat, Snaring, South Africa


A wide range of interventions have been implemented to reduce wildlife poaching incidents across the globe. These include community-based strategies, such as the development of alternative livelihoods; legal strategies, such as the development of legal frameworks at local, regional, and international levels; and wildlife law enforcement efforts, such increasing patrolling efforts. While community-based and legal strategies generally attempt to reduce the motivating factors surrounding the commission of crimes, wildlife law enforcement further attempts to prevent crimes from happening, assuming that someone will always be inclined. Given this inevitability, the question is raised regarding how to best reduce the occurrence of and opportunity for crime. Crime science and its derived situational crime prevention strategies provide an approach to this problem. This dissertation will apply the crime science framework to facilitate the conceptualization key crime prevention constructs, as they relate to the context of wildlife, and assess their utility to poaching prediction and prevention. Specifically, it will aim to study the strengthening of formal surveillance, extension of guardianship, as well as the reduction of provocations and removal of excuses as they relate to foot patrols, wildlife tourism, and local park communities, respectively – three fundamental elements of African conservation areas. Together, these situational crime prevention strategies and park elements correspond to three distinct studies answering the following questions within: (1) What is the relationship of unarmed foot patrols, a form of formal surveillance, to bushmeat snaring in the park? (2) To what extent does local wildlife tourism fulfill the role of informal guardianship by deterring poaching? and (3) What is the relationship of the local communities to the natural resources and natural resource exploitation and how does these relationships correspond to the reduction of provocations and removal of excuses as they relate to bushmeat snaring? Insight from these three lines of inquiry together support a multifaceted, non-militarized approach to security dynamics in protected areas.

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