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Hugging the Block: Improving Public Safety and Police-Community Relations

On September 15, 2020, Criminology Professor Rod Brunson led an hour-long virtual discussion called “Hugging the Block: Improving Public Safety and Police-Community Relations.” His discussion was the first of a series of events called “Tea on Tuesdays,” hosted by Northeastern University’s College of Social Sciences and Humanities.

During his talk, Professor Brunson explained the various dimensions of urban policing, requiring honest and thoughtful public discourse beyond the oversimplified explanations that are commonly used to dismiss police wrongdoing. It’s evident that aggressive policing strategies have contributed to volatile neighborhood environments, profoundly unraveling citizen trust, and exacerbating unfairness in the criminal justice system. The way we examine policing today has become extremely polarized. As a result, meaningful critiques of misguided crime-control strategies are being unjustly characterized as unpatriotic and anti-law enforcement. Given this backdrop, Professor Brunson offered a nuanced analysis of Black citizen-police experiences in a way that humanizes both parties – a dimension often missing from many current discussions of police-minority citizen relations.

Professor Rod K. Brunson is the Thomas P. O’Neill Jr., Professor of Public Life in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice and the Department of Political Science at Northeastern University. He is also the Director of Graduate Mentoring and Diversity Initiatives in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Criminology and has produced a steady stream of research informing criminal justice policy and crime control practices. Brunson’s scholarship appears in the British Journal of Criminology, Criminology, Criminology & Public Policy, City & Community, Evaluation Review, Urban Affairs Review, and the Journal of Research, Crime and Delinquency.

To attend the remaining events in the Tea on Tuesdays series, visit the University Calendar.

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