Crime and Policing (Sociology UN3983)

Fall 2022 Columbia University

This course will introduce students to the literature on crime and policing. Readings for the course will be from a broad range of disciplines, including sociology, criminology, law, and public policy. Most weeks, the readings will include relevant “popular press” articles that will help situate the literature in the context of current debates. The course is organized in two parts. The first half will focus on the problems of crime and violence in urban environments. We will review classic and modern ideas and theories explaining crime and violence, and we will look at the evidence describing patterns and trends in crime in recent history. The second half of the course will focus on the approaches to confront crime and violence, with a strong emphasis on policing. We will review the literature on the relationship between crime and policing, and we will learn about the impact that policing practices have on individuals and their communities.