On Tuesday, May 8, the University of Scranton hosted a Congressional Briefing in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, DC, to raise awareness of the partnership between their Center for the Analysis and Prevention of Crime (CAPoC) and the Scranton Police Department. According to Michael Jenkins, executive director of CAPoc and associate professor of criminal justice, CAPoC was established last July to offer criminal justice and sociology students the opportunity to engage with faculty to learn about and apply data management, analysis, and presentation skills to problems facing local criminal justice and social service agencies.
So far CAPoC has worked on two projects with the local police — one was an assessment of the training for first responders to address mental health issues during a situation and the other, which was the topic of the briefing, was the data analysis of non-residential burglaries in Scranton. University of Scranton students Emily Bluhm, a junior, and Elizabeth Scott, a senior, presented the latter project to the audience on Tuesday, taking them through basic explanations of crime theories and how they analyzed nine months of police reports to identify two patterns of non-residential burglaries in Scranton during that time frame. Their analysis in establishing the patterns led to increased awareness among the police department and outreach to the affected communities.
Scranton Police Chief Carl Graziano then explained that while data analysis is helpful to police, small and medium-sized departments generally do not have the resources to do this type of work so CAPoC is helping to fill that need. Dr. Jenkins later added that when universities do this type of work, it is generally at the graduate level, so the University of Scranton is proud of the fact that they are able to bring this type of real-world experience to its undergraduate students.
Ismail Onat, professor of sociology and criminal justice; Julie Cohen, director of community and government relations; and students Madeline Grant, Caroline Landon, and John Sember were also in attendance to represent The University of Scranton.
This is the second NAC&U Congressional Briefing during the 2017-18 academic year. The University of New Haven hosted one on cybersecurity last fall.