Mount Royal University may become Alberta’s go-to for criminal and justice research after receiving a provincial grant to kick-start projects.

Alberta’s Justice Minister and Attorney General Alison Redford announced Thursday that MRU’s centre for criminology and justice research received $845,000.

“Mount Royal University is going to be where we turn as a provincial government to find out what’s going on,” she said.

The centre, which opened in January, utilizes faculty, students and industry professionals to conduct research on issues that impact the community including domestic violence, at-risk youth and young offenders.

The hope is to find ways to prevent crime before it happens, said the centre’s director John Winterdyk.

“If you want to make a better society, you have to be proactive and so you need to understand what the risk factors are,” said Winterdyk.

Police Chief Rick Hanson said the research done by the centre will help to guide the police service as well.

“We need to know where we can effectively focus our resources,” he said. “We need to know in areas of youth crime, domestic violence,” he said.

Winterdyk said the grant will last them a year and hopefully their work during that time will lead to future funding.

“If you want to do a quality crime prevention initiative, you have to be able to study it over a period of time.”

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