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Charis Kubrin - UC Irvine. Irvine, CA, US

Charis Kubrin

Professor | UC Irvine

Irvine, CA, UNITED STATES

Charis E. Kubrin is Professor of Criminology, Law and Society and (by courtesy) Sociology.

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Biography

Charis E. Kubrin is Professor of Criminology, Law and Society and (by courtesy) Sociology. She is also a member of the Racial Democracy, Crime and Justice- Network. Her research focuses on neighborhood correlates of crime, with an emphasis on race and violent crime. Recent work in this area examines the immigration-crime nexus across neighborhoods and cities, as well as assesses the impact of criminal justice reform on crime rates. Another line of research explores the intersection of music, culture, and social identity, particularly as it applies to hip hop and minority youth in disadvantaged communities.

Professor Kubrin has received several national awards including the Ruth Shonle Cavan Young Scholar Award from the American Society of Criminology (for outstanding scholarly contributions to the discipline of criminology); the Coramae Richey Mann Award from the Division on People of Color and Crime, the American Society of Criminology (for outstanding contributions of scholarship on race/ethnicity, crime, and justice); and the W.E.B. DuBois Award from the Western Society of Criminology (for significant contributions to racial and ethnic issues in the field of criminology). Most recently she received the Paul Tappan Award from the Western Society of Criminology (for outstanding contributions to the field of criminology). In 2019, she was named a Fellow of the American Society of Criminology.

Issues of race and justice are at the forefront of Professor Kubrin’s TEDx talk, The Threatening Nature of…Rap Music?, which focuses on the use of rap lyrics as evidence in criminal trials against young men of color. Along with Barbara Seymour Giordano, Kubrin received a Cicero Speechwriting Award for this talk in the category of “Controversial or Highly Politicized Topic.”

Areas of Expertise (6)

Race, Ethnicity, and Crime

Crime Trends

Crime

Immigration and Crime

Rap Music and Media

Criminal Justice Reform

Accomplishments (4)

Ruth Shonle Cavan Young Scholar Award (professional)

from the American Society of Criminology (for outstanding scholarly contributions to the discipline of criminology)

Coramae Richey Mann Award (professional)

from the Division on People of Color and Crime, the American Society of Criminology (for outstanding contributions of scholarship on race/ethnicity, crime, and justice)

W.E.B. DuBois Award (professional)

from the Western Society of Criminology (for significant contributions to racial and ethnic issues in the field of criminology)

Paul Tappan Award (professional)

from the Western Society of Criminology (for outstanding contributions to the field of criminology)

Education (1)

University of Washington: PhD, Sociology

Affiliations (1)

  • American Society of Criminology : Fellow

Media Appearances (14)

‘The bane of retail.’ To prevent theft, many big chains now lock up all kinds of merchandise

Los Angeles Times  online

2024-04-25

Charis Kubrin, a professor of criminology at UC Irvine who studies retail theft, said that although some stores lock up lots of merchandise, others cage almost nothing. “It’s kind of an uneven distribution,” she said. “A mixed bag.” … The scale of merchandise theft, Kubrin added, is sometimes overblown by a retail industry happy to pin its problems, which include market forces such as inflation and a shift to online shopping, on stolen merchandise.

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Trump focuses on migrants and crime. Here is what the research shows

Reuters  online

2024-04-11

A range of studies by academics and think tanks have shown that immigrants do not commit crime at a higher rate than native-born Americans. … A selection of recent research: "Immigration and Crime: Assessing a Contentious Issue,, opens new tab" by Charis Kubrin, a criminology professor at the University of California, Irvine and Graham Ousey, a sociology professor at William & Mary. The 2018 study was published in the peer-reviewed Annual Review of Criminology.

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‘The bane of retail.’ To prevent theft, many big chains now lock up all kinds of merchandise

Los Angeles Times  online

2024-04-25

Charis Kubrin, a professor of criminology at UC Irvine who studies retail theft, said that although some stores lock up lots of merchandise, others cage almost nothing. “It’s kind of an uneven distribution,” she said. “A mixed bag.” … The scale of merchandise theft, Kubrin added, is sometimes overblown by a retail industry happy to pin its problems, which include market forces such as inflation and a shift to online shopping, on stolen merchandise.

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Opinion: Laken Riley’s killing does reflect a broader danger. But it isn’t ‘immigrant crime’

Los Angeles Times  online

2024-04-01

Charis E. Kubrin, UCI professor of criminology, law and society and Sarah Shannon write, “Laken Riley’s killing should remind us of the ways that violence against women is downplayed, tolerated and even facilitated in America. Misusing this crime to demonize immigrants, capitalize on misguided fears, call for reactionary policies based on flawed beliefs and gain votes in an election year is one more way of diminishing and distracting from the problem it actually represents.”

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Killings by police brought reforms. Fear of crime is unraveling them.

The Washington Post  online

2024-03-10

Criminologist Charis Kubrin of the University of California, Irvine said California crime trends are at “historic lows” too, yet people in general remain “extremely concerned about crime,” in part because horrific stories of violence are often amplified on social media and in news reports. “There is always a disconnect between perceptions of crime and data,” Kubrin said. “Most people get their information on crime from headlines and politicians.”

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Address Showed Biden Seeking Tricky Balance on Immigration

The New York Times  online

2024-03-08

While there has long been a concerted focus to connect immigrants to increases in crime, Charis E. Kubrin, a professor of criminology, law and society at the University of California, Irvine, said that the emphasis was misguided. “What we’ve found is that increases in immigration to areas either have no impact on crime or cause crime to go down on average,” she said about her research, adding that the Riley case offered an opportunity to “politicize this issue which is already political.”

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The truth about illegal immigration and crime

The Washington Post  online

2024-02-29

Graham Ousey, a criminologist at the College of William & Mary, and Charis Kubrin, a criminologist at the University of California , Irvine, surveyed more than two decades of research on immigration and crime for their 2023 book, “Immigration and Crime: Taking Stock.” The results varied depending on survey design and scope, but generally they found “that long-standing concerns about immigration as a major source of crime are unfounded.” In fact, communities with more immigration tend to have less crime, especially violent crimes like homicide. They also found that immigrants are less involved in crime as both offenders and victims compared to the native-born, including the children of immigrants.

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Murder of Georgia student fuels heated debate over immigration policies

PBS Newshour  online

2024-02-27

The murder of a college student in Georgia and the immigration status of her alleged killer have thrown new fuel into the heated debate over immigration and the government's policies. Amna Nawaz discussed more with Charis Kubrin, a professor of criminology, law and society at the University of California, Irvine and co-author of, “Immigration and Crime: Taking Stock.”

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Slaying of Georgia student becomes part of U.S. immigration debate

The Washington Post  online

2024-02-26

Charis Kubrin, a criminology professor at the University of California, Irvine, said blaming immigrants isn’t a solution for deterring crime. “If we want to use that kind of logic, then we should ban men from existing in the United States because they are responsible for the vast majority of crime,” she said. “The reality is if we actually care about lowering crime then we need to identify what are the real causes.” … On average, she said, immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than U.S.-born residents.

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I asked criminologists about immigration and crime in the US. Their answers may surprise you

CNN  online

2024-02-15

Charis Kubrin and Graham Ousey literally wrote the book on immigration and crime. They’ve been researching these issues for decades and analyzed numerous studies for their 2023 book, “Immigration and Crime: Taking Stock.” Kubrin is a professor of criminology, law and society at the University of California, Irvine …. [Kubrin said], “… In general, on average, we do not find a connection between immigration and crime, as is so often claimed. The most common finding across all these different kinds of studies is that immigration to an area is either not associated with crime in that area, or is negatively associated with crime in that area. Meaning more immigration equals less crime. It’s rare to find studies that show crime following increases in immigration or with larger percentage of the population that are immigrants.”

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Proposition 47's Impact on California's Criminal Justice System

KQED  online

2024-02-14

UC Irvine criminologist Charis Kubrin said it’s both problematic if retailers are not reporting crimes and if police aren’t arresting suspects when they are reported — but that there’s nothing in Proposition 47 preventing police from arresting shoplifters. Kubrin, who conducted the first study of Proposition 47’s impacts on crime, said low clearance rates usually indicate “a breakdown between police and the community.”

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Will murder trial finally solve mystery of Run-DMC’s Jam Master Jay?

The Guardian  online

2024-02-03

Charis Kubrin, a professor of criminology, law and society at the University of California, Irvine, said the case presents twin questions that hang over the high-profile murders of [Jam Master Jay – Jason] Mizell, [Tupac] Shakur and [Biggie] Smalls alongside broader questions of criminal justice: rappers being caught up in the criminal justice system, and police-community relations in disadvantaged neighborhoods. … “Part of that was street code. You don’t report, you handle the problem on your own. The flip side of that was that people did not trust the police to protect them and there was a very real fear or retribution and retaliation.”

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Is rap on trial? How lyrics can be used against rappers in courtrooms

Miami Herald  online

2023-12-17

In front of a jury, hip-hop lyrics can activate stereotypes about the genre and the artists, who are mainly men of color, said Charis Kubrin, a professor of criminology, law and society at the University of California, Irvine. “If it wasn’t effective, we wouldn’t see as many cases as we see where this is happening,” she said. Kubrin, who co-authored a legal guide that provides tips for lawyers to counter lyrical evidence, has also been testifying as an expert witness in rap-related cases since 2011. … “My goal is simply to not have prosecutors use lyrics in a way that bamboozles the jury into believing the claims that the prosecutor is making, which is that if someone could write these raps, they could do these things,” she said.

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Smash & Grab: Stealing the Season, a KNX News Town Hall

KNX News  online

2023-12-12

Our KNX News Town Hall dives into the retail theft crisis: how bad is it really, and what can be done to stop it? … Panelists include: … Charis Kubrin, professor of criminology, law and society UC Irvine School of Social Ecology [who said], “Smash and grab is a classification, it’s not a crime type and so while we know about shoplifting, commercial burglary, commercial robbery. Organized retail theft, of the kind you are talking about, we do not have systematic data and we mostly have to rely on what retail establishments claim are happening, in terms of the amount. So, the answer is we don’t really know and that’s part of the challenge.”

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Articles (8)

Sanctuary Status and Crime in California: What’s the Connection?

Justice Evaluation Journal

2020 In 2017, California officially became a sanctuary state following the passage of Senate Bill 54, which limits state and local police cooperation with federal immigration authorities. Following the passage of SB54, critics worried that crime rates would rise. What impact did this policy have on crime in California? The current study, the first of its kind, addresses this question.

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Medical Marijuana Laws and Suicide

Archives of Suicide Research

2019 In the current study we use a synthetic control group design to estimate the causal effect of a medical marijuana initiative on suicide risk. In 1996, California legalized marijuana use for medical purposes. Implementation was abrupt and uniform, presenting a “natural experiment.”

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Institutional Completeness and Crime Rates in Immigrant Neighborhoods

Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency

2018 A growing body of research finds that immigration has a null or negative association with neighborhood crime rates. We build on this important literature by investigating the extent to which one theory, institutional completeness theory, may help explain lower crime rates in immigrant communities across the Southern California region. Specifically, we test whether two key measures of institutional completeness—the presence of immigrant/ethnic voluntary organizations in the community and the presence and diversity of immigrant/ethnic businesses in the community—account for lower crime rates in some immigrant communities.

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Imagining violent criminals: an experimental investigation of music stereotypes and character judgments

Journal of Experimental Criminology

2018 Using an experimental approach, participants were presented with music lyrics and asked to make judgments about the person who wrote the lyrics. All participants read the same lyrics but were told they were from a country, heavy metal, or rap song, depending upon the condition into which they were randomly assigned.

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Can We Downsize Our Prisons and Jails Without Compromising Public Safety?

Criminology & Public Policy

2018 Our study represents the first effort to evaluate systematically Proposition 47’s (Prop 47’s) impact on California’s crime rates. With a state-level panel containing violent and property offenses from 1970 through 2015, we employ a synthetic control group design to approximate California’s crime rates had Prop 47 not been enacted.

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Immigration and Crime: Assessing a Contentious Issue

Annual Reviews

2018 Are immigration and crime related? This review addresses this question in order to build a deeper understanding of the immigration-crime relationship. We synthesize the recent generation (1994 to 2014) of immigration-crime research focused on macrosocial (i.e., geospatial) units using a two-pronged approach that combines the qualitative method of narrative review with the quantitative strategy of systematic meta-analysis.

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Suicide in Happy Places: Is There Really a Paradox?

Journal of Happiness Studies

2017 In 2011 researchers published a paper that exposed a puzzling paradox: the happiest states in the U.S. also tend to have the highest suicide rates. In the current study, we re-examine this relationship by combining data from the Multiple Mortality Cause-of-Death Records, the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, and the American Communities Survey to determine how subjective well-being and suicide are related across 1563 U.S. counties.

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The Threatening Nature of “Rap” Music

Psychology, Public Policy, and Law

2016 Rap music has had a contentious relationship with the legal system, including censorship, regulation, and artists being arrested for lewd and profane performances. More recently, rap lyrics have been introduced by prosecutors to establish guilt in criminal trials. Some fear this form of artistic expression will be inappropriately interpreted as literal and threatening, perhaps because of stereotypes.

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