Research Centers

Center on Crime and Community Resilience

Crime and violence disproportionately affect the most disadvantaged and vulnerable communities in the
US and around the world. At the same time, common policy responses to violence, such as mass
incarceration, are often incredibly damaging to the same disadvantaged communities, and costly to
society in a number of ways.

We need new policy solutions. Some of the best new research evidence shows that it is possible to make
communities safer, healthier places without relying on tactics that have these massive downsides. The
mission of the Center on Crime and Community Resilience (CCR) is to help these new policy solutions happen,
by rigorously researching and testing new ideas that strengthen and protect communities, and proving
to policymakers that they can shift to effective and equitable strategies.

Working with multi-disciplinary research teams and collaborating with governments and communities
across Massachusetts, the US, and across the world, the Center on Crime and Community Resilience will
confront some of the most pressing public safety challenges, including:

• Combating the gun violence epidemic
• Reducing truancy and juvenile crime in and around schools
• Stopping human trafficking and sexual exploitation
• Helping communities respond to the opioid / fentanyl crisis
• Assisting the reentry of citizens returning from incarceration
• Understanding racial disparities in police enforcement actions

Institute on Race and Justice

The Institute on Race and Justice (IRJ) brings together experts from Northeastern University’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, School of Law, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, and Department of African American Studies to examine questions on race and justice facing communities. Through the leadership of the Community Advisory Board, the Institute works on projects toward the goal of conducting nationally recognized research and providing leadership on race and justice issues.

The mission of the Institute is to utilize strategic social science research methodologies to assist government agencies, educational institutions, and community stakeholders in the development of policy changes to advance the cause of social justice. The Institute was founded on the premise that academic institutions can work with communities to provide rigorous and objective information that can be used to influence policy changes that advance the cause of social justice.

This research model attempts to enhance scientific inquiries with that input and experiences of community stakeholders who struggle with issues of racial injustice. The coupling of community practitioners and social scientists allows practitioners access to academic input while providing academics with more current and salient ideas and data on issues in the field.

Institute for Security and Public Policy

The Institute for Security and Public Policy led by Northeastern University’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, in collaboration with the colleges of Computer and Information Science and Business Administration, deals with developing a deeper understanding of the security threats that face America and other countries in the 21st Century.

The Institute for Security and Public Policy is a strategic alliance to better understand the dynamics underlying security, risk management and public safety, as well as education on initiatives that engage private and public sector leaders in a meaningful discourse about how each contributes to the safety and security of people, property, information and ideas.

Cargo Ship

Research Initiatives

Violence and Justice Research Laboratory

The Violence and Justice Research Laboratory (VJRL) supports and promotes research in the areas of violence and victimization, its impact and consequences, and the role of the justice system in addressing these issues. We have a particular focus on underserved and understudied populations, who are often particularly vulnerable to experiencing violence. Our scholarship aims to inform policy and move forward empirical knowledge as well as help develop future generations of scholars within this arena. The lab utilizes a structured mentoring system to prepare undergraduate and graduate student researchers in a variety of techniques and methodological approaches. As violence research is spread across various disciplines (psychology, criminal justice, sociology, public health, medicine, social work) the VJRL is an interdisciplinary entity, which aims to bring collaborators and students from various disciplines within the social sciences to help move forward our knowledge in these areas.

Cambridge-Somerville Youth Study

The Cambridge-Somerville Youth Study (CSYS) is a delinquency prevention experiment embedded in a prospective longitudinal survey of the development of offending. The study was developed and directed by Richard Clarke Cabot (1868-1939), a professor of clinical medicine and social ethics at Harvard University. Planning began in 1935 and the delinquency prevention program officially started in June 1939. The CSYS is recognized as the first randomized controlled experiment in criminology, one of the earliest randomized experiments of a social program, and the earliest example of a longitudinal-experimental study with criminological outcomes.

Historic map of Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville
Researchers gather for ISRD conference

International Self-Report Delinquency Project

The International Self-Report Delinquency Project (ISRD) is an ongoing research study of delinquency and victimization among youth, using standardized instruments and data collection procedures. The primary focus has been on Europe, but the ISRD project now includes a number of non-European countries (e.g., Brazil, China, Cape Verde, Venezuela).

The ISRD project has two primary objectives:

  • Observe and compare differences, similarities, and trends in offending and victimization between countries
  • Explore and test theoretical issues related to juvenile delinquency and victimization, while maintaining relevance for policy purposes

Data were first collected in 1990-1991 among 13 countries (ISRD1), and in 2005-2007 in 31 countries (ISRD2). The third data collection sweep (ISRD3) is currently on-going, with about 35 partners across the globe.