New Methods to Enhance the Study of Environmental Crimes and New Instruments to Strengthen Crime Prevention

Published date01 August 2020
Date01 August 2020
Subject MatterIntroduction to the Special Issue
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice
2020, Vol. 36(3) 300 –302
© The Author(s) 2020
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/1043986220939705
Introduction to the Special Issue
New Methods to Enhance
the Study of Environmental
Crimes and New Instruments
to Strengthen Crime
Illegal trade in wildlife, illegal logging and timber trading, unregulated fishing, illegal
coral harvesting, as well as the illicit trade of waste and smuggling of ozone-depleting
substances are, along with other environmental crimes, detrimentally affecting the
quality of air, water, and soil, threatening the survival of fauna and flora, causing
irreparable damage to our planet, along with placing a heavy burden on both human
health and the economic livelihood of billions of people across the globe. However,
despite the nascent global awareness of environmental crimes, this area of scientific
inquiry requires further investigation by means of rigorous methods to produce sound
empirical knowledge that can inform law enforcement activities and criminal justice
systems, and advise policy makers. More specifically, several scholars have high-
lighted the need to produce new solid empirical research on environmental crimes, and
recommended utilizing quantitative methods that have hitherto been neglected in this
field (Lynch et al., 2017; Lynch & Pires, 2019; Nobles, 2019).
The special issue New Quantitative and Qualitative Methods to Investigate
Environmental Crimes seeks to improve extant understanding of environmental
crimes, advocate for the use of new methods through which to study this topic, and
enhance the preventive measures to combat these crimes. I am pleased to introduce
this special issue that comprises expert contributions from multiple countries (i.e.,
Australia, Italy, Sweden, the United States, and the United Kingdom). The articles
included in this issue employ different methodological approaches (i.e., quantitative,
qualitative, and mixed-methods) to analyze several types of environmental crime in
different offline and online contexts around the world (e.g., the illegal harvesting of
live corals in Indonesia and Fiji, environmental crimes in protected areas in Cambodia,
online illegal trade in endangered plants, and illicit waste trafficking at the global
level). Moreover, they present innovative methodological solutions to the study of
environmental crimes and guide future researchers in how to construct databases to
quantitatively investigate corporate environmental crimes.
The first article in this special issue introduces the use of counter-mapping and
activist tools as both a new method through which to investigate environmental crimes
and as a means to quantify and demonstrate environmental harm in Australia (Barnes
& White, 2020). The second article applies risk terrain modeling (RTM) to study fauna
and flora–related illegal activities (e.g., illegal logging, flora and fauna poaching) in
939705CCJXXX10.1177/1043986220939705Journal of Contemporary Criminal JusticeFavarin

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