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Chris Smith

Education

  • Ph.D., Sociology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 2015
  • B.A., Sociology, University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, 2002

About

Chris Smith is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of California, Davis. Broadly, she studies inequality in crime, criminal relationships, and criminal organizations. Specifically, this includes projects on historical organized crime in Chicago, relational inequality in co-offending networks, inequality in police shootings, and neighborhood change and its effects on crime. Chris has published in American Sociological ReviewCity & Community, Crime & Delinquency, and two edited volumes. Chris's research has received funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Justice. Chris has received multiple teaching awards, including the university-wide Distinguished Teaching Award at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and teaches classes on crime and inequality at UC Davis.

Research Focus

Areas of Specialization: Crime and inequality, feminist criminology, historical research methods, organized crime, police violence, social network analysis, sociology of gender, urban sociology

Historical Organized Crime Networks: The empirical foundation of Chris’s research on historical organized crime networks is 5,000 pages of archival documents used to create a relational database with information on more than 3,321 individuals and their 15,861 social relationships. Chris and Andrew Papachristos (Yale University) have published on the topic of multiplexity in organized crime networks. Chris's current work with this database examines how women's structural positions in early 1900s Chicago organized crime networks diminished over time. Chris is expanding this work into research on relational inequality in co-offending networks.

Police Shootings: In 2015, Chris began a new data collection project compiling more than 11,000 news reports on hostile or dangerous interactions between civilians and police in order to examine differences in fatal and nonfatal outcomes. A team of UC Davis research assistants is working to complete the database by the end of summer 2017. This project has received funding from an Individual Research Grant from the Institute for Social Sciences at the University of California, Davis. The goal of this project contribute to a national conversation on police violence that currently has very little empirical evidence.

Gentrification and Crime: Chris’s past research studied neighborhood inequality and the relationship between gentrification and crime outcomes over time in Chicago.

Selected Publications

Smith, Chris M., and Andrew V. Papachristos. 2016. "Trust thy Crooked Neighbor: Multiplexity in Chicago Organized Crime Networks." American Sociological Review 81(4):644-67.

Papachristos, Andrew V., and Chris M. Smith. 2014. "The Embedded and Multiplex Nature of Al Capone." Pp. 97-115 in Crime and Networks, edited by C. Morselli. New York: Routledge.

Smith, Chris M. 2014. "The Influence of Gentrification on Gang Homicides in Chicago, 1994 to 2005." Crime & Delinquency 60(4):569-91.

Papachristos, Andrew V., Chris M. Smith, Mary L. Scherer, and Melissa A. Fugiero. 2011. "More Coffee, Less Crime? The Relationship between Gentrification and Neighborhood Crime Rates in Chicago, 1991 to 2005." City & Community 10(3):215-40.

Teaching

Professor Smith regularly teaches Soc 150 – Criminology and Soc 151 – The Criminal Justice System. She uses team-based learning in her undergraduate courses to transform a passive large lecture hall into a dynamic active learning space. She teaches graduate courses on social networks that cover methods, theory, and applications. In 2016, Professor Smith was a selected participant for the UC Davis Center for Educational Effectiveness’ first Engaged Learning and Teaching Community. While at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, she received the university-wide Distinguished Teaching Award in 2009.

Awards

2016-2017 Institute for Social Sciences Fellow, University of California, Davis, Institute for Social Sciences

2016 Engaged Learning and Teaching Community, University of California, Davis, Center for Educational Effectiveness

2013-2015 Graduate Research Fellowship, National Institute of Justice

2013-2014 Sociology Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant, National Science Foundation

2009 Distinguished Teaching Award, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Office of the Provost