Dr. Shaun Thomas is an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology in the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Arkansas, Little Rock. He joined the department in the Fall of 2009. He received his doctoral degree in Sociology from Louisiana State University in 2009. His dissertation focused on variations in the relative prevalence of interracial violence across U.S. Counties.
The central question guiding his research is: how do structural and cultural aspects of communities affect crime, violence, social control, and community well being. Specifically, his research interests involve exploring how the structural and cultural context of communities impact variation in both the level and nature of deviant adaptations. His current research projects involve merge county level data with incident-level data from the National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS). The multi-level nature of this research allows him to highlight the unique explanatory power of theoretically important predictors of crime above and beyond the characteristics of the incident and the demographic characteristics of those involved in the event. Rather than focusing strictly on variations in levels of crime, he directs much of his attention toward variations in the nature of violence across communities. The areas on which he is currently concentrating include: race and ethnic specific victimization patterns, victim-offender relationship patterns, use and choice of weapon, extent of victim injury, and offender motivation. In predicting variations in the nature and outcome of violent incidents, he explores the role of individual level attributes of victims and offenders as well as the contextual environment in which criminal incidents occur (i.e. concentrated disadvantage, inequality, residential segregation, policing strategies, and, most importantly, civic engagement and civically engaged community organizations).