Brandon C. Welsh's research while affiliated with Northeastern University and other places

Publications (186)

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Founded in 1935, the Cambridge-Somerville Youth Study (CSYS) is a randomized controlled experiment of a delinquency prevention intervention, with an embedded prospective longitudinal survey, involving 506 underprivileged boys, ages 5 to 13 years (median = 10.5 years), from Cambridge and Somerville, Massachusetts. The CSYS has two main objectives: t...
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Objectives Pair-matching with random allocation in prospective controlled trials represents a novel and highly rigorous design. First use of the design can be traced to medicine (in 1926) and criminology and the social sciences more generally (in 1935). Beginning with these trials, we examine the subsequent history of matched-pair RCTs (randomized...
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Objectives To test the cumulative disadvantage hypothesis—that system-level racial and ethnic disparities accumulate from intake to final disposition—by investigating relative and absolute disparities across different pathways through the juvenile justice system. Methods Using a sample of 95,670 juvenile court referrals across 140 counties in four...
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Research Question In the context of important advances as well as global reach, what more is needed for evidence-based policing to bridge the divide between academic research and police practice? Data We draw on 18 case studies reported in The Globalization of Evidence-Based Policing: Innovations in Bridging the Research-Practice Divide (Piza and...
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This article reports on an updated systematic review and meta‐analysis of the effects of street lighting interventions on crime in public places. Following Campbell Collaboration guidelines, it uses robust criteria for inclusion of studies, comprehensive search strategies to identify eligible studies, a detailed protocol for coding key study charac...
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Violence in the workplace represents a pressing social problem, drawing attention to the need for both public and private prevention interventions. Workplace violence and workplace violence prevention serve as a crucial topic globally, given the context of violence and victimization in the workplace across a range of industries, and in the context...
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Less-than-lethal weapons, such as conductive energy devices (CEDs) and chemical sprays, have proliferated across law enforcement agencies over the past 30 years. This study reports on the findings of the first systematic review of the effects of police use of less-than-lethal weapons on citizen and officer harm. Following Campbell Collaboration gui...
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Premature mortality represents an important outcome for crime and violence prevention and related social interventions, but little is known about premature mortality in relation to these interventions. This article assesses the impact of interventions for at-risk and criminally involved youths and adults on premature mortality over the life-course....
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Objectives The article reflects on some pioneers in experimental criminology, including those who contributed to the development and longevity of the Cambridge-Somerville Youth Study (CSYS), and reports on a new program of research on the CSYS, extending the study to 85 years (1935–2020) and beyond. Methods The key focal points are the CSYS, a ran...
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In the last two decades, closed-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance cameras have come to occupy a central role in contemporary crime prevention across the world. Widely viewed as the “internationalization” of CCTV surveillance, there has been a corresponding growth in the evidence base about its effect on crime. The cumulative evidence demonstra...
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PurposeTo begin to develop an understanding of knowledge translation of early developmental crime prevention.Methods Involves a narrative review of experiments of early developmental prevention with measures of delinquency and criminal offending, and profiles two leading experiments, the Cambridge-Somerville Youth Study (CSYS) and the Montréal Long...
Chapter
This book describes the lives of 12 people born in Europe and North America during the Second World War. They became leading scholars on the development and prevention of violent human behavior. From the first to the last page, the book introduces contrasting life-stories and shows how their paths crossed to create a relatively unified body of know...
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This article has two main objectives. The first is to advance primary research on intervention studies that report iatrogenic effects. In short, we need to know a great deal more about why interventions cause harm. The second objective is to make the case that a body of knowledge on iatrogenic effects can play an important role in informing evidenc...
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A key take away from Elliott et al.’s critical review is the need for a program of more rigorous comparative research to assess the two main evidence‐based models for guiding juvenile justice interventions. Additionally, a sound measure of this research should be whether or not the different models are able to achieve (and sustain) population impac...
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We live in a surveillance society. Often justified under the guise of government anti-terrorism activities, domestic crime reduction, or both, surveillance takes many forms, including closed-circuit television cameras, networked cameras, and facial recognition applications. There is also a range of alternative forms of surveillance, measures consid...
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Place managers are individuals who are physically and legally able to prevent crime in proprietary places, in addition to their designated functions within these places. They can be apartment complex owners, store managers, bar owners, parking lot attendants, or other individuals who have ownership claims to a place or are employed by that place. L...
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The extent to which disproportionate minority contact (DMC) in the juvenile justice system varies across states remains largely unknown. Using a multijurisdictional sample of 146 counties across four states, the present study utilizes multilevel modeling with cross-level interactions to explore whether there is variation in the influence of race an...
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Juvenile defendants in criminal court represent an especially vulnerable group for whom quality legal representation is critical. While some juvenile defendants are able to obtain private counsel, indigent defendants are provided an attorney by the government. One long-standing concern is that these court-appointed attorneys are less effective. Usi...
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Objectives To investigate the relationship between criminal offending and mortality over the full life-course of treatment group participants in the Cambridge–Somerville Youth Study (CSYS). Methods The CSYS is a delinquency prevention experiment and prospective longitudinal survey of the development of offending. Begun in 1939, the study involves...
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Purpose This article reviews the process of scaling up early developmental preventive interventions with criminological outcomes over the life-course, with a focus on quantifying the scale-up penalty. The scale-up penalty is an empirically based quantification of the amount of attenuation in the effects of interventions as they move from research a...
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Private security personnel play an important but largely overlooked role in the operation of closed-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance to prevent crime in public and private areas. This role can take a number of forms, including active monitoring of cameras. Drawing upon a global database of CCTV evaluations ( N = 165), this article examines th...
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In 1997, the Office of Justice Programs published Preventing Crime: What Works, What Doesn’t, What’s Promising (Sherman, L. W., Gottfredson, D. C., MacKenzie, D. L., Eck, J. E., Reuter, P., and Bushway, S. D. (1997). Preventing Crime: What Works, What Doesn’t, What’s Promising. Washington, DC: Office of Justice Programs). The report was commissione...
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Importance: Mortality is an important outcome in evaluating crime prevention programs, but little is known about the effects on mortality during the full life course. Objective: To determine the long-term outcomes of a crime prevention program on mortality and whether the iatrogenic effects on mortality observed in middle age persist or change i...
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Research Summary We report on the findings of an updated systematic review and meta‐analysis of the effects of closed‐circuit television (CCTV) surveillance cameras on crime. The findings show that CCTV is associated with a significant and modest decrease in crime. The largest and most consistent effects of CCTV were observed in car parks. The resu...
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Broken windows theory (BWT) has heavily influenced the social sciences and policy over the past 30 years. It posits that disorder in neighborhoods leads to elevated crime by inviting additional criminal activity and by discouraging the positive social behavior that prevents crime. Scholars have debated the veracity of BWT, and here we conduct a met...
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A life-span developmental approach describes Joan McCord’s career and highlights her pioneering contributions to criminology and, more broadly, to understanding human development. The main focus of this article is on her exceptional scientific contributions through the assessment of the Cambridge-Somerville Youth Study experimental preventive inter...
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The criminological “broken windows” theory (BWT) has inspired public health researchers to test the impact of neighborhood disorder on an array of resident health behaviors and outcomes. This paper identifies and meta-analyzes the evidence for three mechanisms (pathways) by which neighborhood disorder is argued to impact health, accounting for meth...
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Objectives Begun in 1939, the Cambridge-Somerville Youth Study (CSYS) is recognized as the first delinquency prevention experiment and the earliest example of a longitudinal–experimental study with criminological outcomes. This paper aims to develop a historical understanding of the origins of the study’s research design. Methods The present study...
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This chapter reviews the leading family-based programs for preventing delinquency and later offending, focusing on the highest quality research studies as well as the most rigorous reviews of research that include only high-quality studies. It argues that by focusing on families we can go a long way toward improving the effectiveness of programs an...
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The past few decades have seen considerable advances in building an evidence base for the effectiveness and cost-benefit of early intervention aimed at crime prevention. While work in building an evidence base for early crime prevention continues, there is a parallel movement toward understanding how to best translate this evidence to the field. Th...
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Purpose: Richard Clarke Cabot (1868–1939) designed and directed one of criminology's most well-known delinquency prevention programs and the field's first randomized controlled experiment: the Cambridge-Somerville Youth Study (CSYS). This paper aims to develop an historical understanding of the making of the CSYS through a focus on Cabot. Methods:...
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Founded in 1939, the Cambridge-Somerville Youth Study represents the earliest longitudinal–experimental study in developmental crime prevention, combining the aims of understanding how the developmental process is related to future offending (i.e., longitudinal focus) as well as attempting to prevent offending through an experimental intervention d...
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Research Summary Although the amount of research evidence on the effectiveness of developmental crime prevention has grown considerably in recent decades, the translation of this scientific knowledge into policy and practice has lagged behind. In this article, we consider the challenges as well as the opportunities associated with scaling up eviden...
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Theory matters in crime prevention. Indeed, but this is hardly the full story. Crime prevention is oftentimes viewed as atheoretical—not grounded in the etiology of crime and offending. Reasons abound for this view, and the recent interest in an evidence-based approach to policy-making has been at the forefront. This article reviews the role that t...
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Central to the evidence-based paradigm is the explicit goal to increase the influence of scientific research on public policy. The research utilization literature delineates a number of ways that evaluation research can exert an influence on policy decisions, including conceptual, instrumental, and political. Limitations of these routes of research...
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Purpose: This paper provides a systematic review of the current state of knowledge about the effect of race on the decision to waive a juvenile defendant to criminal court. Methods: Following comprehensive search strategies a total of 20 independent studies were identified that met the review's inclusion criteria, eighteen of which could be include...
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Research Summary: We conducted a systematic review of recidivism outcomes for juveniles transferred to adult court, incorporating meta-analytic techniques. Nine studies—based on nine statistically independent samples—met the inclusion criteria. Pooled analysis suggests that juvenile transfer had no statistically significant effect on recidivism. Ho...
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Objective To update Piquero et al.’s meta-analysis on early family/parent training programs. Methods Screening of eligible studies was carried out for the period between January 2008 and August 2015. An additional 23 studies were identified, which were added to the original database of 55 studies, totaling an overall sample of 78 eligible studies....
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At the same time as politicians were calling for and legislating “get tough” policies that led to mass incarceration and increased rates of imprisonment for juvenile offenders in the 1990s, many states and jurisdictions began adopting an array of evidence-based therapeutic programs. Beginning with the Chicago Area Project of the 1930s, we examine t...
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Video surveillance, or closed-circuit television (CCTV), has become a highly popular and prevalent method of preventing crime in public space in many countries across the world. Although it often dominates the policy focus, questions have been raised about its effectiveness and social costs, as well as how it compares to alternative surveillance me...
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The number of high-quality benefit-cost analyses of crime prevention programs has grown from 12 to 23 since 2000, and numerous benefit-cost ratios have been calculated by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy. Benefits are often estimated conservatively, whereas costs are usually estimated in full. Benefits nonetheless exceed costs for m...
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Criminology has paid increasing attention to the prospect that prevention programmes can cause harm. The Cambridge-Somerville Youth Study, a delinquency prevention experiment of 506 boys that began in 1939, provides some of the earliest evidence of programmatic iatrogenic effects. A series of hypotheses were advanced by Joan McCord and other schola...
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This article serves as a substantive introduction and guiding post for the journal’s special issue on “Reimagining Broken Windows: From Theory to Policy.” It describes the core concepts of the broken windows perspective, examines its theoretical underpinnings, and sets out priorities for future research and policy development. Important advancement...
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Objective Crime policy scholars and practitioners have argued for years that when police address social and physical disorder in neighborhoods they can prevent serious crime, yet evaluations of the crime control effectiveness of disorder policing strategies yield conflicting results. This article reports on the results of the first systematic revie...
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This article reports on the results of a systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects of after-school programs (ASPs) on delinquency. Mixed results from some well-known evaluations, a wide range of modalities, and continued interest in and demand for this social intervention motivated this review. A rigorous criteria for inclusion of studies...
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Objectives Neighborhood youth organizations are a salient community-level resource in the lives of children and adolescents, but empirical research on the aggregate-level rela-tionship between neighborhood crime rates and neighborhood organizations is mixed. This study attempts to clarify and extend prior research by examining (1) whether there is...
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In Cohen and Felson's (1979) routine activities theory, the presence of a capable guardian serves as the key component in the crime event model, one that can disrupt, either directly or indirectly, the interaction between a motivated offender and a suitable target. Unlike the other components of the theory much less is known about the nature of cap...
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This article explores the progress that state governments across the country are making in implementing the three most widely used evidence-based programs (EBPs) for delinquent youth: multisystemic therapy (MST), functional family therapy (FFT), and multidimensional treatment foster care (MTFC). Rather than rank states, this study was designed to h...
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Objectives The population of randomized experiments in policing is used to examine co-author and mentoring relations in the professional network of scholars and assess if experimental criminology is on the path to creating the necessary social capital to promote the use of randomized controlled trials in criminology and criminal justice research. M...
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Focused deterrence strategies attempt to increase punishment risks faced by violent gangs through the development of new and creative ways of deploying traditional and non-traditional law enforcement tools. In addition to increasing the swiftness and certainty of sanctions, these strategies explicitly communicate incentives and disincentives to det...
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This article reviews some of the most effective programmes for saving children from a life of crime, and also presents the results of cost-benefit analyses of some of these programmes. The best programmes include general parent education in home visiting programmes, parent management training, pre-school intellectual enrichment programmes, child sk...
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Crime prevention has long figured prominently in the scholarly and applied traditions of criminology. Using a socio-historical approach, this article examines the developments of and influences on the concept of crime prevention in the USA over the last century. We argue that crime prevention is a unique social and environmental strategy for reduci...
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Objective The late James Q. Wilson (1931-2012) was a prolific scholar and made many important contributions to the field of criminology. Less well known, however, is that Wilson was a great advocate of early prevention of delinquency and later offending. This essay examines this aspect of Wilson's overall contribution to criminology. Materials and...
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Experimental criminology is a part of a larger and increasingly expanding scientific research and evidence-based movement in social policy. The essays in this volume report on new and innovative contributions that experimental criminology is making to basic scientific knowledge and public policy. Contributors explore cutting-edge experimental and q...
Chapter
Experimental criminology is a part of a larger and increasingly expanding scientific research and evidence-based movement in social policy. The essays in this volume report on new and innovative contributions that experimental criminology is making to basic scientific knowledge and public policy. Contributors explore cutting-edge experimental and q...
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Criminologists have long had an interest in the association between antisocial behavior and functioning of the brain. Indeed, the origins of criminology as a scientific discipline can be traced to medicine and psychiatry, when scholars in the sixteenth century such as Philip Pinel, Benjamin Morel, and James Crowley attempted to demonstrate how brai...
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US juvenile justice is at the forefront of experimentation with the evidence-based paradigm, whereby the best available research is utilized to help inform more rational and effective practice. Increasingly, state governments are playing a major role in this endeavor. Maine is one of these states and is the focus of this article. Using a case-study...
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Objectives To investigate the utility of two main approaches for translating research into evidence-based practice in juvenile justice: (a) brand-name programs that are identified by lists of various expert groups and come with implementation and quality assurance packages offered by program developers; and (b) results of large-scale meta-analyses...
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Guardianship or the absence of capable guardianship is a central element in routine activities theory, and has been the subject of research for more than 30 years. The original conceptualization of guardianship has been interpreted and expanded upon in many ways during this period of time. This article charts the evolution of research on the guardi...
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Objectives Investigate the degree and nature of influence that researchers have in police crime prevention programs and whether a high degree of influence is associated with biased reporting of results. Methods Meta-analytic inquiry of experimental and quasi-experimental studies (n = 42), drawn from four Campbell Collaboration systematic reviews o...
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It was not so long ago that scholarly writings pointed to the vast chasm that existed between criminal justice and public health approaches to understanding and controlling interpersonal violence. Other scholarship of the day examined how criminal justice and criminology could benefit from adopting elements of the public health approach. For sure,...
Book
How can a society prevent-not deter, not punish-but prevent crime? Criminal justice prevention, commonly called crime control, aims to prevent crime after an initial offence has been committed through anything from an arrest to a death penalty sentence. These traditional means have been frequently examined and their efficacy just as frequently ques...
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Evidence-based practice in the field of delinquency prevention has come a long way in the last 15 years in the United States. This progress has been aided by several leading organizations and researchers providing authoritative and up-to-date lists of what works, the application of cost–benefit models, and some political leaders championing this mo...
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An observational tool was developed to measure guardianship potential and guardianship in action in residential areas in The Hague, the Netherlands by Reynald (Crime Prevention and Community Safety 11(1):1–20, 2009; Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 47(3):358–390, 2010). Guardianship potential was measured using the defensible space-base...
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Evidence-based practice in the field of delinquency prevention has come a long way in the last 15 years in the United States. This progress has been aided by several leading organizations and researchers providing authoritative and up-to-date lists of what works, the application of cost-benefit models, and some political leaders championing this mo...
Chapter
A number of conclusions can be drawn about the state of evidence on the effectiveness of prevention and intervention programs to reduce serious offending in early adulthood. First, there are some promising signs that early prevention programs can produce lasting effects on offending and other important life-course outcomes into the early adult year...
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Objective: Crime prevention has entered a new, more robust phase of research activity and holds greater relevance to policy and practice today than ever before. It stands as an important component of an overall strategy to reduce crime. This paper sets out a modest proposal for a new crime policy to help build a safer, more sustainable society. Mat...
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Crime policy should be rational and based on the best possible research evidence. It is of course wholly naïve to think that the evidence base on the effectiveness of a particular program or strategy will be the sole influence on policy. There are many considerations involved in implementing new policies as well as in expanding effective ones or pu...
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Introduction. Experimental criminology is a part of a larger and increasingly expanding evidence-based movement in social policy. The evidence-based movement first began in medicine and has, more recently, been embraced by the social sciences. Evidence-based social policy advocates – in areas such as education, poverty reduction, and crime preventi...
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Experimenting with crime and social programs has a rich tradition. Some notable developments include the “lost letter” experiments of the 1970s (Farrington 1979) and the experimenting society concept advanced by Donald Campbell and others during the 1960s and 1970s (see Campbell 1969, 1979). Researchers used the lost letter experiments, which invol...
Book
Experimental criminology is a part of a larger and increasingly expanding scientific research and evidence-based movement in social policy. The essays in this volume report on new and innovative contributions that experimental criminology is making to basic scientific knowledge and public policy. Contributors explore cutting-edge experimental and q...
Article
Spending on prisons is at an all time high in the United States. These costs are proving unsustainable, causing a substantial drain on state and local government budgets and diverting scarce resources from critical sectors like education, health, and welfare. Early prevention of delinquency and later offending represents a viable public policy opti...
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Cohen and Felson’s (Cohen and Felson American Sociological Review 44(4):588–608, 1979) routine activity theory posits that for a crime to occur three necessary elements must converge in time and space: motivated offenders, suitable targets, and the absence of capable guardianship. Capable guardians can serve as a key actor in the crime event model;...

Citations

... Central to the matter of missing participants was that the analysis of intervention effects was not conducted using matched pairs-for reasons that are unknown. Had McCord analyzed effects using matched pairs, it is required that both members of a pair be dropped from the analysis if one member is missing (see Welsh et al., 2022). While this would have further reduced the sample size, potentially as low as 227 pairs (253 minus 26), this would have mitigated any concerns about differential attrition, which can be a serious threat to the internal validity of long-term follow-ups of randomized controlled experiments (Farrington & Welsh, 2006). ...
... For example, therapeutic interventions could reduce the symptom burden of mental disorders, or family-based interventions such as functional family therapy or parent management training could help to prevent criminal behavior in youth (Welsh & Farrington, 2006). However, the effect of intervention efforts among youth offenders to prevent injuries and death needs to be further researched (Welsh, Zane, & Reeves, 2021). Our results also suggest that research on prediction models for injuries and death among youth offenders is a necessary next step (see for example Fazel, Wolf, Larsson, Mallet, & Fanshawe, 2019;Yu et al., 2022). ...
... 5 The CSYS is now directed by the first author (Welsh) and he is the principal investigator of this follow-up. The other authors are members of the CSYS research team (see Welsh, 2021). As with the previous follow-up, this one is being conducted in two phases. ...
... The direction suggested by Sherman 2, appears to waive the 'subtle thinking' of Sherman 1, 'repudiates theory' and prefers a certain 'methodological hammer', thereby 'pos[ing] risks to research, practice and important liberal principles' (Tilley 2009, p. 135). While there has been limited support expressed for mixed methods, and the contextualisation of research evidence by practitioners (Sherman 1998, Neyroud and Weisburd 2014, Welsh 2019): on balance the rhetoric of EBP appears to persist (see Sherman 2013, 2015, 2022a, 2022b, Bullock, Fielding and Holdaway 2020, Holdaway 2020, Huey et al. 2021, Mitchell 2022, Piza and Welsh 2022. ...
... Knowing their responsibilities, governments around the world have implemented a variety of crime-prevention initiatives. The use of CCTV camera is one of these advancements (Piza, Chu & Welsh 2021 Progressively, the use of public space CCTV cameras has become a "normal feature of public life" with the daily blanket surveillance of the movement of persons in public spaces (Duncan, 2018). In South Africa, where the police daily fight a deadly war against crime, surveillance technology is increasingly being used by local municipalities to augment an understaffed and under-resourced police force (Moyo, 2019). ...
... (4) On historical significance: What is our historical understanding of the development of the study, its influences on delinquency prevention and the discipline of criminology, and what are the lessons for today? (See e.g., Podolsky et al., 2021;Welsh et al., 2017Welsh et al., , 2019aWelsh et al., , 2020Welsh et al., , 2022 ...
... Unter Rekurs auf die vorliegenden deskriptiv angelegten (Übersichts-)Arbeiten fällt in der Gesamtbetrachtung auf, wie ähnlich sich die wenigen Aufsätze zur Videoüberwachung über einen größeren Zeitraum sind (Müller, 2002;Steinbauer, 2010;Röll & Brink, 2011a, 2011b. Zufriedenstellender zeigt sich der Forschungsstand aus internationaler Perspektive, nicht nur in Bezug auf das Vorliegen verschiedener Meta-Analysen (Gill & Spriggs, 2005;Welsh & Farrington, 2009;Thomas et al., 2021), wobei die allgemeine Ernüchterung ob der Wirksamkeit von Videoüberwachung bestehen bleibt (Piza, 2018;Gerell, 2021). Sowohl die nationale als auch die internationale Forschung legen ihren Schwerpunkt auf die kriminalitätssenkenden Effekte videoüberwachter Räume. ...
... Finally, and perhaps putting to rest any equivocation about the benefits of a longer follow-up of a harm-causing preventive intervention, is the need for greater understanding of iatrogenic effects and that this knowledge could help inform evidence-based policy. Here, the thinking is that this knowledge can serve as another key input in the policymaking process (Welsh et al., 2020b). ...
... Future experiments that attempt to disentangle the effects of different elements of the most successful programs are needed. Although not a specific focus of this special issue, it is also important that programs include, as part of the original research design, provision for an economic analysis-either a cost-benefit or cost-effectiveness analysis-to allow for an assessment of the economic efficiency of the program (see Welsh and Farrington 2000;Farrington, Petrosino, and Welsh 2001;Welsh, Farrington, and Sherman 2001). ...
... In application to the context of insurers' responses to cyber threats, we define efficiency as the ultimate prevention of the likelihood of occurrence and/or losses from cyber incidents with the lowest financial cost and time spent. This definition is in line with the general understanding of the efficiency of crime prevention in terms of costs and benefits (Welsh et al., 2018). Before considering the organisational efficiency of insurance companies, we look at the legislative systems of the countries with high score on the Cybersecurity Index (The International Telecommunication Union, 2020) and cases of significant cyber attacks. ...