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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Committee on Law and Justice
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
The Roundtable on Crime Trends
Project Scope

The Roundtable discussions will focus on crime trends, such as the crime decline of the past 20 years, explore its policy and operations implications and relevance for future prevention and enforcement efforts, and discuss ways to inform a long-term research agenda. The committee will meet 6 times over a period of 36 months to explore the predominant explanations for the crime drop: the economy, incarceration, policing and environmental factors, such as lead exposure or neighborhood context/conditions, or social trends such as immigration patterns, demographic trends, legalization of abortion or marriage patterns. The specific topics will be determined by the roundtable participants.

Sponsor: National Institute of Justice

Roundtable Members

Richard Rosenfeld (Chair), Curators Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice, 
   University of Missouri - St. Louis
Eric Baumer, Allen E. Liska Professor of Criminology, Florida State University
Jim Bueermann, President, Police Foundation
Shawn Bushway, Professor of Criminal Justice/Professor of Public Administration and Policy,
   University at Albany (SUNY)
Manuel Eisner, Professor, Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge
George Gascón, District Attorney, San Francisco District Attorney’s Office
Maxine Hayes, State Health Officer, Washington State Department of Health
David Hemenway, Professor, Harvard School of Public Health
Dan Isom, Retired Chief of Police, City of St. Louis, and Des Lee Professor of Policing
   and the Community Department Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Missouri-St. Louis
Janet Lauritsen, Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Missouri - St. Louis
The Honorable Cindy S. Lederman, Circuit Court Judge, Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida, Miami
Randolph Roth, Professor of History, Ohio State University
José A. Scheinkman, Theodore A Wells '29 Professor of Economics, Princeton University
María B. Vélez, Assistant Professor, University of New Mexico
David Weisburd, Distinguished Professor, Department of Criminology, Law and Society Director,
   Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy, George Mason University, and
   Walter E. Meyer Professor of Law and Criminal Justice, Faculty of Law, The Hebrew University


Jon B. Gould, Program Director, Law and Social Sciences Program, National Science Foundation
Nancy Rodriguez, Director, National Institute of Justice
Thomas Simon, Deputy Associate Director for Science, Division of Violence Prevention,
   National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

News and Events

Meeting #6: September 24, 2015
The sixth and final meeting synthesized the key issues and concepts that were discussed during previous meetings of the Roundtable: disaggregating U.S. crime trends and situating crime trends in a historical and comparative context; bridging the gap between research on individual differences in criminal propensity and changes in aggregate crime rates; and the potential roles of the criminal justice system, population- and demographic-based factors, and social institutions and mechanisms of social control in influencing crime trends.  ► Agenda

Meeting #5: May 18, 2015
The fifth meeting explored the potential role of social institutions and mechanisms of social control in influencing crime trends.  Discussions at the meeting addressed trends in the lethality of criminal attacks, "target hardening" and changes in the physical environment, labor markets, psychopharmacological treatment, school disciplinary systems, and violence against women.  ► Agenda and Presentations  

Viewpoint by Richard Rosenfeld in The Crime Report (March 3, 2015) What Caused the Crime Decline? Assessing the Brennan Center Report

Meeting #4: November 6, 2014.
The fourth meeting explored how, and to what extent, population- and demographic-based factors may have influenced crime trends over the last few decades. Sessions at the meeting focused on age-period-cohort analyses of crime trends, pregnancy and fertility trends, race, and immigration.  ►
 Agenda and Presentations

Meeting #3: April 29, 2014. 
The third meeting explored  how, and to what extent, the criminal justice system may have influenced crime trends over the last few decades. The inquiry was two-fold: (1) Which institutions or practices make a difference (i.e., reduce crime and/or have criminogenic effects)? (2) What is the current or potential impact of those effects on changes over time in aggregate crime rates? The sessions covered issues such as policing, incarceration, recidivism and the role of probation and parole, and innovative policies and practices.   ► Agenda and Presentations 

Meeting #2: December 3, 2013.
The second meeting explored the implications of individual-level research on criminal propensity for understanding larger crime trends. The lead-crime hypothesis was used as a “case study” to help think about ways of bridging the gap between research on individual differences in criminal propensity and changes in aggregate crime rates. Invited speakers presented on what is known about individual differences in antisocial behavior, delinquency and crime; the relationship between childhood lead exposure and crime trends; and findings from a longitudinal survey of youth from an inner-city community.  ► Agenda and Presentations

August 5, 2013, Q&A interview with Richard Rosenfeld, chair of the Roundtable on Crime Trends in The Crime Report entitled, Explaining the U.S. Crime Decline.

Meeting #1: June 25-26, 2013.
The first meeting of the roundtable focused on descriptions of crime trends in the United States and situated them in historical and comparative context. Presentations at the meeting discussed U.S. crime trends in historical perspective; crime trends, disaggregated by offense type; regional/local variations in crime trends; gender, race, and ethnicity of victims and offenders; and U.S. crime trends in international perspective. This information provided a detailed backdrop for assessing the factors that may have contributed to changing crime rates.  ►
Agenda and Presentations

Manuel Eisner, From Swords to Words: Does Macro-Level Change in Self-Control Predict Long-Term Variation in Levels of Homicide? in Crime and Justice (Volume 43, No. 1, 2014)

Project Staff


Malay Majmundar, Study Director

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