Crime, Law, and Social Control

Our research area group provides sophisticated training and conducts cutting-edge research on the causes and consequences of crime, law and social control. With seven sociologically-oriented criminologists on our faculty, we are uniquely situated among programs to query the broad structural antecedents and dynamic social processes that undergird crime and justice. Our faculty members and graduate students employ advanced methodologies and analyze state-of-the-art data to contribute to research and theory in the following specializations:

  • Politics of crime, law, and social control
  • Demography of crime and social change
  • Spatial dynamics, urban sociology, and crime
  • Social networks, peers, crime, and delinquency
  • Life course and developmental criminology
  • Gender and crime
  • Sentencing and criminal justice outcomes

We publish in top sociology and criminology journals, and we regularly collaborate with other research areas in the Department, including race/ethnicity, health and medicine, and social movements. 

Sample Projects

Our faculty members are involved in numerous research and data collection efforts. Many of these efforts provide opportunities for graduate student research experience. See faculty web pages for more detail on other research projects.

The National Neighborhoods and Crime Study 2.  Christopher Lyons, in collaboration with Maria Velez (Maryland) and Laurie Krivo (Rutgers), are currently working on a National Science Foundation funded project to collect a second wave of the National Neighborhoods and Crime Study (NNCS-2) that will provide unique two-panel crime and demographic data for neighborhoods across 91 large cities in the U.S.

The Prevalence and Nature of Intra-and Inter-group Violence in an Era of Social and Demographic Change-Noah Painter-Davis, in collaboration with Casey Harris (Arkansas) are working on a National Institute of Justice funded project using the National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) to examine how social and demographic changes over the past decade have influenced race/ethnic specific violence. The project will also provide a user-friendly NIBRS database containing race/ethnic specific measures of violence and demographic data spanning 2000 to 2013. 

Graduate Courses Offered (last five years)

Theories of Crime and Delinquency

Social Networks, Crime, and Health

The Politics of Crime and Punishment

Crime, Law, and Social Control

Communities, Race, and Crime

Gender and Crime

Affiliated Centers

Faculty and graduate students in crime, law, and social control affiliate with the following research centers on campus:

Institute for Social Research

New Mexico Sentencing Commission

Institute for the Study of "Race" and Social Justice

Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse, and Addictions