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Maria B. Velez

Associate Professor

Photo: Maria Velez
SSCI 1074

Curriculum vitae


Ph.D. The Ohio State University 2002

Research Interests

Crime, Law, and Social Control , Race and Ethnicity , Criminology

Communities , Racial and Economic Inequality


María B. Vélez is an Associate Professor with the Department of Sociology at the University of New Mexico (Ph.D., The Ohio State University). Generally, María’s research focuses on explaining the uneven pattern of crime across neighborhoods, cities, and individuals. She pays particular attention to how structural factors such as racial and economic inequalities, immigration, external investments help to understand this patterning. She also seeks to understand the interplay among the actions of political and economic actors, the creation and maintenance of urban inequality and crime patterns.  Currently, with her colleagues Christopher Lyons (also at UNM) and Lauren J. Krivo (Rutgers University), she is in the middle of a major data collection effort funded by the National Science Foundation – to collect the second wave of the National Neighborhood Crime Study (NNCS).  This new data set will be the first to provide crime data at the neighborhood level for two time periods (circa 2000 and 2010) for over 9500 neighborhoods across 91 cities.  These crime data will be merged with information (measured from 1990 to 2010) about a variety of neighborhood and city level factors relevant for understanding crime.  Ultimately the NNCS2 will provide a platform to understand how the changing character of neighborhoods and cities promotes or reduces local crime and also how changes in crime shape the fate of neighborhoods across a variety of city contexts.

Recent/Select Publications:

Vélez, María B., Christopher Lyons, and Wayne A. Santoro. 2015.  “The Political Context of the Percent Black-Neighborhood Violence Link: A Multilevel Analysis.” Social Problems doi: 10.1093/socpro/spu005.

Vélez, María B. and Christopher Lyons.  2014. “Making or Breaking Neighborhoods:  Public Social Control and the Political Economy of Urban Crime.” Criminology and Public Policy 13(2): 225-235.

Lyons, Christopher J., María B. Vélez, and Wayne A. Santoro. 2013. “Neighborhood Immigration, Violence, and City-Level Immigrant Political Opportunities.” American Sociological Review 78: 604-632.

Vélez, María B., Christopher Lyons and Blake Boursaw. 2012 “Assessing the Relationship between Mortgage Lending and Crime: An Analysis of Seattle Neighborhoods (1981-2007).” Criminology 50(4):1025-1056.

Santoro, Wayne A., María B. Vélez, and Stacy Keogh. 2012. “Mexican American Protest, Ethnic Resiliency, and Social Capital: The Mobilization Benefits of Having Social Ties to Whites”. Social Forces 91(1):209-231.

Vélez, María B. and Kelly Richardson. 2012. “The Political Economy of Neighborhood Homicide in Chicago: The Role of Bank Investment”. British Journal of Criminology 52(3): 490-513. doi:10.1093/bjc/azr092.

Vélez, María B. 2009. “Contextualizing the Immigration and Crime Effect: An Analysis of Chicago Neighborhoods.” Homicide Studies 13:325-335.