Greater Good: UC criminologists’ research aids in police funding debate

Is funding police the best way to keep the community safe? Greater Good Magazine, published by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, examines this issue in a recent story, which includes research conducted by University of Cincinnati criminologists Travis Pratt and Francis Cullen.

In their meta-analysis of more than 200 studies, Pratt and Cullen looked at how different factors in the community and police force predicted crime.  Pratt is a fellow with the UC Corrections Institute; Cullen is a professor emeritus and senior research associate in the School of Criminal Justice.

“If you want to reduce crime, the first thing you need to know is what’s associated with crime, right?” Pratt said. “Things we think of as ‘get tough blue’—like large police forces and expenditures, and enhanced sentencing structures—were pretty uniformly weak across the board when it came to predicting crime.”

Instead, the story notes, policies aimed at eliminating poverty and building self-reliance would be better for public safety than increasing the police force.

Pratt told Greater Good these results were the same regardless of the kind of crime measured—whether it was violent crime, property crime, robbery, burglary, or homicide. Nor did the results vary by decade: What was true in the 1980s was also true in the 1990s, he said.

Read the full story here. 


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