Alumni experiences

Wendy Schreurs

Wendy Schreurs, MSC

PhD student at PCRS at University of Twente

In 2014, I graduated from the master Psychology of Conflict, Risk and Safety at the University of Twente. I have always been interested in safety issues and psychological processes behind crime. What further appealed to me in this master especially was the combination of theory and its application to society. Also in the courses, applied topics were explored in order to understand psychological theories. For example, in the course Forensic Psychology (currently known as Psychology and crime), we received an assignment where we had to design an experiment with the aim to improve police interrogations. A nice aspect was that a police officer was involved and assisted in judging the assignments as well. Further, most assignments in other courses were linked to current news issues, which makes the assignments more lively and relevant.  

While writing my bachelor and master theses, I realized that I really enjoy doing research. Especially applied research in which societal problems are examined, and where the results contribute to improve issues faced in practice. For my master thesis I developed an instrument to determine the seriousness of crimes for the organization that facilitates victim-offender mediation in the Netherlands. With this instrument, this organization can adapt their approach to specific cases based on the seriousness of crimes. At this moment more research on this instrument is still conducted, but it might be actually used in practice in the near future.   

When I saw the vacancy for a PhD position about the role of citizens in community policing, I knew immediately that this was exactly what I was looking for in a job. It was an applied topic regarding safety, in which I could combine my knowledge in social psychology as well as public administration. Although I was still writing my thesis, I decided to give it a go and got accepted.

During my research, I examine the psychological drivers behind citizen participation in the police domain. For example why some citizens join a neighborhood watch, call the police or get involved in shaping police policy, while others do not participate at all. The aim of this research is to develop interventions to increase citizen participation in order to increase feelings of safety, improve the relation between the police and citizens and - on the long term- to reduce crime.

What I really like about my job, is the combination of research, the opportunity develop yourself further (by following courses at the Twente Graduate School and the Kurt Lewin Institute). Furthermore, you build a network through collaboration with for example the police and municipalities, and contribute to education by giving guest lectures and supervising students.

If you have further questions regarding this testimonial, you can contact me via Linkedin.

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