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Criminology Theorist Felson to Lecture Feb. 6

Dr. Marcus Felson, co-creator of the criminological theory of routine activities, will inaugurate the UALR Department of Criminal Justice Sheriff Orval Walker Lecture Series from 3 to 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 6, in Arkla Room 116 in Ross Hall.

The event is free and open to the public.

Felson, currently a professor of criminology at Texas State University, has spent over four decades studying neighborhood factors in crime. He developed the routine activity theory of criminology with Lawrence E. Cohen that says crime is normal and its rate depends on opportunities available.

According to the theory, crime does not need hardened offenders, super-predators, convicted felons, or wicked people to occur. Crime just needs an opportunity.

The theory has created controversy among sociologists who believe in the social causes of crime, such as poverty and other social factors.

Felson has taught at Rutgers, the University of Illinois, and the University of Stockholm. He received his B.A. from the University of Chicago and his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. He has lectured in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, England, Finland, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. He also has authored more than 80 professional papers and multiple books.

The UALR Sheriff Orval Walker Lecture Series honors a police officer of Mena and sheriff of Polk County. He was one of the first American paratroopers, serving in the 501st Airborne Division and was on Omaha Beach on D-Day. He died last August at the age of 92. He was the father of Dr. Jeffrey Walker, chair of the Department of Criminal Justice. The family of Sheriff Walker created the lecture series in his memory.