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University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Professor secures National Institute of Justice grant

A UALR researcher interested in learning which persons are at greatest risk of being a victim of homicide has secured more than $161,000 from the National Institute of Justice to study the issue.

Dr. Emily Berthelot, UALR professorDr. Emily Berthelot, an assistant professor in the UALR Department of Criminal Justice, will analyze the impact of community and individual characteristics to better understand a person’s risk of becoming a homicide victim.

Berthelot is integrating previously untapped resources, such as public health data, with current criminological methods to better understand the issue.

“This research fills an important omission in social science theories of crime and violence by examining the influence of both individual and community characteristics simultaneously,” she said.

“In other words,” said Berthelot, “is it being disadvantaged, living in a disadvantaged neighborhood, or a combination of the two that increases one’s chances of being a victim of homicide?”

The grant award is $161,551, and the project’s title is, “Person or Place? A Contextual, Event-History Analysis of Homicide Victimization Risk.”

Results of this research will be useful for academics, policy makers, and the criminal justice community, according to Berthelot.

“It is my hope that the findings for this project will afford the implementation of policies and programs that will ultimately improve the outcomes for impoverished and high-risk individuals,” she said.

Berthelot is optimistic the project may improve more targeted research and program implementation in U.S. neighborhoods with the greatest concentration of high-risk individuals, potentially minimizing risk by focusing on the most influential risk factors in those communities.

“Once risk factors have been identified and institutional support for programs and policies has been established, policymakers and stakeholders will be able to customize local resource allocation in ways that can work to lessen the risk of homicide victimization among community residents,” Berthelot said.