NIJ Journal 276: NIJ Bulletin

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Publications in Brief

Crime and Policing Revisited

The Harvard Executive Session on Policing and Public Safety produced a series of papers that reflect a growing body of research about innovative crime prevention strategies. In the final paper of the series, Anthony A. Braga reviews the effectiveness of these strategies and concludes that law enforcement should adopt a flexible, community problem-solving approach to crime with programs that fit local needs. The goal is to balance effective crime prevention with maintaining positive community perceptions of the quality and appropriateness of law enforcement services.

Read the paper, "Crime and Policing Revisited" (pdf, 32 pages).

Community-Based Responses to Justice-Involved Young Adults

Advances in behavior and neuroscience research confirm that brain development continues well into a person's 20s, meaning that young adults have more psychosocial similarities to children than to older adults. With a foreword by Assistant Attorney General Karol V. Mason, the first paper from the Harvard Executive Session on Community Corrections discusses how this research on brain development affects the justice system's response to young adults.

Read the paper, "Community-Based Responses to Justice-Involved Young Adults" (pdf, 25 pages).

Watch a video in which Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, Assistant Attorney General Karol V. Mason, and experts from NIJ and the Harvard Kennedy School Program in Criminal Justice discuss the future of justice-involved young adults. Exit Notice

Paving the Way: Lessons Learned From Sentinel Event Reviews

This report summarizes the findings from a beta test of sentinel event reviews (SERs) in three jurisdictions. SERs are all-stakeholder, nonblaming reviews of justice system errors or near misses. NIJ's Sentinel Events Initiative borrows extensively from medicine, aviation and other high-risk fields that have used SERs to improve outcomes. Since 2011, NIJ has been investigating the feasibility of using SERs as a way to learn from errors in the criminal justice system. This publication is a companion piece to Mending Justice: Sentinel Event Reviews, published by NIJ in 2014.

Read Paving the Way: Lessons Learned in Sentinel Event Reviews (pdf, 24 pages).

News & Events

National Academies' Report Makes Recommendations to Improve NIJ's Forensic Science Role

NIJ asked the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to conduct an independent and rigorous review of NIJ's contributions to forensic science research and development and to monitor NIJ's progress in addressing the challenges faced by the forensic science community. The NAS committee found that NIJ's efforts have "(1) restored authority that is appropriate for a science agency … and (2) contributed to the building of a research infrastructure necessary to develop and sustain research that advances forensic science methods."

Read a statement by NIJ Director Nancy Rodriguez.

NIJ Receives FBI Director's Awards for Excellence

The NIJ-FBI Sexual Assault Kit Partnership was recognized with an Outstanding Scientific Advancement Award during the FBI Director's Awards for Excellence. During the next five years, the partnership is projected to reduce the nation's untested sexual assault kits by thousands of cases, bringing victims a step closer to justice.

Learn more about this partnership.

Rebecca Campbell Receives Awards for Sexual Assault Kit Research

Rebecca Campbell, principal investigator for the NIJ-supported Detroit Sexual Assault Kit Action Research Project, is slated to receive the End Violence Against Women International 2016 Visionary Award for her leadership and groundbreaking research on violence against women, specifically sexual assault and the response of legal, medical and mental health systems to the needs of rape survivors. In addition, the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence (MCEDSV) honored Campbell with the 2015 MCEDSV Wave of Change Award for her trailblazing social and systems change efforts in Michigan.

Learn about this action research project.

NIJ Receives Two Awards From

In October 2015, celebrated five years of innovative challenge and prize competitions. Nancy Merritt of NIJ received an Unsung Hero Award for her work developing and implementing the challenge process at the U.S. Department of Justice. In addition, NIJ's Ultra-High-Speed (UHS) App Challenge received the Best Challenge in Software/Apps Award. The UHS App Challenge encouraged software developers and public safety professionals to develop apps that could improve public safety operations. The winning app, developed by the city of Ammon, Idaho, works with a school's existing camera system and gunshot detection hardware to report gunshot fire and provide live video feed to first responders in real time.

Learn more about how NIJ uses challenges, see past challenges, and find out which challenges are currently open.

Peter Lichtenberg Receives Judge Edward Sosnick Courage to Lead Award

NIJ grantee Peter Lichtenberg, director of the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University in Michigan, was presented with the Judge Edward Sosnick Courage to Lead Award by the Oakland County Serving Adults who are Vulnerable and/or Elderly Task Force. Lichtenberg received the award for his extensive work to create ways of identifying older adults at risk of financial exploitation.


Strengthening Law Enforcement-Community Relations

NIJ produced a Research for the Real World seminar that brought together researchers and law enforcement leaders committed to police reform. The discussion centered on how community-minded policies can help improve law enforcement and featured the panelists' contributions to the Harvard Executive Session on Policing and Public Safety.

Watch the video, Strengthening Law Enforcement-Community Relations.

How Reliable Are Latent Fingerprint Examiners?

Brian Cerchiai discusses an NIJ-supported study conducted by the Miami-Dade Police Department on the accuracy of fingerprint examiners. The study found that fingerprint examiners make few errors. In fact, the examiners studied were remarkably accurate even when they did not get an independent second opinion on their decisions. When independent reviewers did verify decisions, the examiners had a 0 percent false positive (or incorrect identification) rate and a 3 percent false negative (or missed identification) rate.

Watch the video on NIJ's YouTube channel. Exit Notice

Using Technology to Protect Wildlife

NIJ, in partnership with the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Counterterrorism, has announced a new research award to identify and assess cost-effective aircraft to further counter-poaching and counterterrorism. Applying lessons learned from the Kenya Wildlife Services, NIJ-funded research will help rural jurisdictions within the U.S. keep their remote and isolated lands safer.

Watch a video about the partnership on NIJ's YouTube channel. Exit Notice

Recent Research Findings

Lessons From the Defending Childhood Demonstration Program

Approximately 60 percent of American children have been exposed to violence, according to a 2009 national survey. In response, the U.S. Department of Justice launched the Defending Childhood Initiative to prevent children's exposure to violence (CEV), mitigate its negative impacts and raise awareness. The initiative funded eight sites across the U.S. to institute comprehensive CEV strategies. To learn from the sites' experiences, the Center for Court Innovation, supported by NIJ, conducted process and outcome evaluations at six of the sites. Despite differences between programs, the lessons provide valuable insight into implementing and sustaining a CEV program.

Read the process evaluation (pdf, 76 pages).

Read the outcome evaluation (pdf, 137 pages).

Lone Wolf Terrorism in America

New research offers a look at the pathways that lone wolf terrorists take on their journey to radicalization. NIJ-supported researchers at Indiana State University developed a model, based on a comprehensive database of lone wolf terrorism in the U.S., showing that radicalization begins with personal and political grievances that form the basis for online sympathizers and enablers. The lone wolf will usually broadcast terrorist intent and experience a triggering event, giving law enforcement time to intervene.

Read Lone Wolf Terrorism in America: Using Knowledge of Radicalization Pathways to Forge Prevention Strategies (pdf, 28 pages).

Superglue Fuming of Fingerprints at Lower Temperatures Improves Results

University of Tennessee scientists, conducting research to better understand the chemical processes involved in superglue fuming of both recent and aged latent fingerprints, discovered that the fuming process is more efficient when the print temperature is between 10 and 15 degrees Celsius (50 and 59 degrees Fahrenheit). Fuming works because vapors from cyanoacrylate, the adhesive that makes up many types of superglue, adhere to the ridges of fingerprints and harden. This discovery came as part of the scientists' broader NIJ-supported research to better understand the molecular processes in fingerprint fuming in order to establish guidelines.

Read the report, Developing Methods to Improve the Quality and Efficiency of Latent Fingermark Development by Superglue Fuming (pdf, 41 pages).

Using Future Internet Technologies to Strengthen Criminal Justice

New Internet-based technology may aid criminal justice agencies through such tools as better criminal databases, remotely conducted criminal trials and electronic monitoring of parolees in the community, according to an NIJ-supported RAND Corporation study. Although the technology is promising, many of the developments raise issues related to civil rights, privacy rights and cybersecurity that must be addressed. The report is based on feedback from an expert panel of practitioners and technology experts convened to discuss what upcoming Internet technologies may be valuable and what the technology likely will do for criminal justice efforts.

Read the report, Using Future Internet Technologies to Strengthen Criminal Justice.

Sharing Data to Improve Science

Data Resources Program

Secondary data analysis allows researchers to build on existing findings, replicate results and conduct new analyses. Through NIJ's Data Resources Program, data collected as part of NIJ research are archived in the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data and made available to support new research aimed at reproducing original findings, replicating results and testing new hypotheses.

Learn about NIJ's Data Resources Program.

Recent data sets added to the National Archive include the following:

  • Crime Hot Spot Forecasting With Data From the Pittsburgh [Pennsylvania] Bureau of Police, 1990-1998
  • Custody Evaluators' Beliefs About Domestic Abuse Allegations, 2009-2010 [United States]
  • Evaluation of GPS Monitoring Technologies and Domestic Violence in the United States, 2001-2009
  • Evaluation of the Gang Resistance Education and Training (GREAT) Program in the United States, 1995-1999
  • Examination of South Carolina's Sex Offender Registration and Notification (SORN) Policy in Reducing Sexual Violence, 1990-2005
  • Longitudinal Study of Violence Against Women: Victimization and Perpetration Among College Students in a State-Supported University in the United States, 1990-1995
  • Polyvictimization Among Girls in the Juvenile Justice System [South Carolina], 2006-2009
  • Spatial Configuration of Places Related to Homicide Events in Washington, DC, 1990-2002
  • The Kentucky Civil Protective Order Study: A Rural and Urban Multiple Perspective Study of Protective Order Violation Consequences, Responses, and Costs, 2006-2008

Learn about accessing and using research data from NIJ studies.

Date Created: January 25, 2016