Student Involvement

Students play a major role in the current and future success of the Center for Violence Prevention and Community Safety. Over the past six years, the Center has employed over 80 undergraduate students as part of sponsored projects. For example, these students have interviewed registered sex offenders in their homes, surveyed recently booked arrestees in jails, and worked with police agencies to collect official data. These undergraduate students develop an appreciation of the research process, as well as become familiar with and understand the advantages of public agencies and universities collaborating together. Many of our students go on to work with local criminal justice agencies and collaborate with us on sponsored projects of mutual interest. We measure our success related to this goal by the number of undergraduate students funded by the Center.

At the Center we also seek to train graduate student to engage in use-inspired research that takes place outside the confines of the university and in collaboration with local, federal, and international agencies. Additionally, we seek to train them to speak to a broader audience, including policymakers, practitioners, academicians, students, and the public, to concentrate their studies toward solutions to violence and associated crime, and to work alongside academics and policymakers from multiple disciplines including psychology, geography, medicine, and city planning. To date, the Center has chaired or served as a member on more than 40% of all master’s theses completed within the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice. These theses are provided below.

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Exploring the Characteristics of Medical Marijuana Users and the Relationship between Medical Marijuana Use and Criminal Involvement among Arrestees in Maricopa County, Arizona

July 2014 | Student Contributions
Although prior research has identified negative consequences from marijuana use, some states are legalizing marijuana for medical use due to its medical utility. In 2010, the State of Arizona passed medical marijuana legislation, yet, to date,...Read more

Police Innovation: Enhancing Research and Analysis Capacity through Smart Policing

April 2013 | Student Contributions
Much research has been done on innovations in policing over the past few decades. However, little research has been done on the Smart Policing Initiative, the latest innovation in economically and financially effective crime prevention and reduction...Read more

A Case Study of the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act: Reforming the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections

April 2013 | Student Contributions
Research examining the long-term impacts of federal interventions under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act on correctional institutions has been scant. The result has been a failure to understand the sustainability of reforms aimed at...Read more

Examining Gang Social Network Structure And Criminal Behavior

March 2013 | Student Contributions
The current study examines the social structure of local street gangs in Glendale, Arizona. Literature on gang organization has come to different conclusions about gang organization, largely based on the methodology used. One consistent finding from...Read more
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Gang Migration: Patterns and Motives of Migration of Mara Salvatrucha 13 and Other Salvadoran Gangs into the United States

August 2012 | Student Contributions
The flow of illegal immigrants has been a topic of discussion among politicians and scholars over the last decade. It has been argued that immigrants increase criminal activities. This is a result of Hispanic immigrants being perceived as criminals...Read more

The Effects of Crime Incident Characteristics and Neighborhood Structure on Police Response Time

August 2012 | Student Contributions
Effectiveness and efficiency of the police have both been contentious topics from the public perspective. Police departments have developed policies to help better their patrol officers' effectiveness on the streets in both quality and timeliness...Read more
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Examining the Diffusion of Police Arrests across Urban Space: Territoriality, the Police Role, and Isomorphism

June 2012 | Student Contributions
The effectiveness of police behavior on criminal activity has improved over the last thirty years. Yet, some police practices remain ineffective against crime. Because there is the potential for disconnect between their behavior and crime control,...Read more

Exploring the Impact of Department Policy on TASER-Proximate Arrest Related Deaths

May 2012 | Student Contributions
The controversy over law enforcement use of TASER devices and the potential for the devices to cause death has proliferated in recent years. In 2005 the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) and International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)...Read more
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An Examination of the Relationship between Gang Membership and Hopelessness

August 2011 | Student Contributions
The literature on hopelessness suggests youth living amid impoverished conditions, social disorganization, and limited resources are more likely to experience increased feelings of hopelessness. Similarly, many of the aforementioned aspects are...Read more

Public Perceptions Matter: A Procedural Justice Study Examining an Arrestee Population

August 2011 | Student Contributions
Research has shown that the manner in which people are treated in their interactions with agents of the criminal justice system matters. People expect criminal justice officials to treat them fairly and with honesty and respect, which is the basis...Read more