Where Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Policing Come From: The Spatial Concentration of Arrests Across Six Cities

McNeil 150
February 14, 2022 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Professor of Criminology & Sociology
University of Pennsylvania, Department of Criminology
Postdoctoral Researcher
University of Pennsylvania
Speaker Biographies: 


Professor MacDonald works on a variety of topics in criminology including the study of crime and violence; race and ethnic disparities in criminal justice; and the effect of public policy responses on crime. In 2012 he was awarded the David N. Kershaw Prize from the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management for contributions to Public Policy by Age 40. In 2017 he was elected Fellow of the Academy of Experimental Criminology. His research has been published in leading scientific journals across different disciplines including the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, American Journal of Epidemiology, American Journal of Public Health, Criminology, the Economic Journal, Journal of American Statistical Association, and the Journal of Royal Statistical Society. His research has been funded by National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and National Institute of Justice (NIJ).  A current focus of his work is on examining how policies and programs to change the land use of places can reduce crime and violence in neighborhoods. His current CDC and NIH funded research involves a randomized community trial of the effect of vacant lot remediation and stabilization on violence and injury outcomes and a randomized trial of abandoned housing remediation on substance abuse and violence. He is also active in studying racial disparities in criminal justice processing, and ways to reduce these disparities through policy and program reforms.

Roland Neil is a postdoctoral fellow at the Penn Injury Science Center, part of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a scholar of crime and criminal justice, urban sociology, the life course, and racial and ethnic stratification.  His current research encompasses three strands. One is focused on explaining patterns of police behavior, including how racial disparities in policing are produced. Roland especially seeks to advance his understanding of how policing is shaped by the organizational and neighborhood contexts in which it occurs. The second strand of his research develops novel statistical tests of discrimination in policing, so that we may more accurately detect racially biased patterns and practices. The third strand seeks to better explain changes in criminal behavior as people age and at the societal level over time by studying the degree and nature of cohort differences in life-course offending patterns.  Roland Neil holds a Ph.D. in sociology from Harvard University. Prior to that, he obtained his B.A. and M.A. from McGill University.