Shea W. Cronin
Assistant Professor, Criminal Justice; Coordinator, Criminal Justice Program
PhD, American University
BS, Northeastern University
Dr. Cronin received his PhD in Justice, Law, and Society from American University, School of Public Affairs. His dissertation research examined political explanations of neighborhood-level arrest rates in an urban police agency. Cronin’s research interests include the administration of criminal justice, communities and crime, policing, and issues of democratic accountability. His research has been published in Crime and Delinquency, Justice Quarterly, and other academic journals. He teaches in the graduate and undergraduate criminal justice programs at MET, including courses in criminology, criminal justice, policing, communities and crime, and analytic methods. Before his appointment at Boston University, Cronin taught at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.
Cronin, S., Farrell, A., and Pennington, L. “Juror Perceptions of the Legitimacy of Legal Authorities and Decision Making in Criminal Cases.” Law & Social Inquiry 38, no. 4 (Fall 2013): 773–802.
Kane, Robert J., and Shea Cronin. “Maintaining Order Under the Rule of Law: Occupational Templates and Police Use of Force.” Journal of Crime and Justice no. 3 (2011).
“Understanding the Temporal Dynamics of Police Organizational Responses to Crime.” Proc. Annual Meeting of American Society of Criminology (San Francisco, Calif., 2010).
Cronin, S., and A. Farrell. “Innovation in Law Enforcement Responses to ‘New Crimes’: The Case of Human Trafficking.” Proc. Annual Meeting of American Society of Criminology (San Francisco, Calif., 2010).
Kane, Robert J., and Shea Cronin. “Associations between Order-Maintenance Policing and Violent Crime: Considering the Mediating Effects of Residential Context.” Crime & Delinquency (2009).
Braga, Anthony, Glen Pierce, Jack McDevitt, Brenda Bond, and Shea Cronin. “The Strategic Prevention of Gang Violence Among Gang-Involved Offenders.” Justice Quarterly 15, no. 1 (2008): 132.
Gueorguieva, Vassia, Jean Accius, Carmen Apaza, Lamar Bennett, Shea Cronin, and Panote Preechyanud. “The Program Assessment Rating Tool and the Government Performance and Results Act: Evaluating Conflicts and Disconnections.” The American Review of Public Administration 39 (2009): 225-245. Originally published online June 2008 as doi: 10.1177/0275074008319218.
Cronin, Shea, Jack McDevitt, Amy Farrell, and Jim Nolan. “Bias Crime Reporting: Organizational Responses to Ambiguity, Uncertainty, and Infrequency.” American Behavioral Scientist 51, no. 2 (2007): 213-231.
Nolan, Jim, Shea Cronin, Jack McDevitt, and Amy Farrell. “Learning to See Hate Crimes: A Framework for Understanding and Clarifying Ambiguities in Bias Crime Classification.” The Justice Professional 17, no. 1 (2004): 91-105.
“Using 3-1-1 Calls to Examine Neighborhood-Level Explanations of Social Control.” Annual Conference of the American Society of Criminology, Washington, D.C., November 16–19, 2011. Co-presented with Moreau, J.
“Roundtable Discussant: Police Use of Force: Various Perspectives from a Special Issue of the Journal of Crime & Justice.” Annual Conference of the American Society of Criminology, Washington, D.C., November 16–19, 2011.
What is your area of expertise?
My broad area of expertise is in criminal justice policy and administration. I specifically focus on issues related to policing, which includes both police strategies and accountability challenges. These areas focus my work on the same kinds of fascinating, complex, and important topics that draw our students to the field.
Please tell us about your work. Can you share any current research or recent publications?
There are two areas that have attracted most of my attention recently. The first is a National Institute of Justice-funded project, led by Professor Michael Siegel and other colleagues from BU’s School of Public Health. Here we are working on a series of studies examining racial disparities in homicide rates. For example, the team has developed one paper testing the differential effect of state firearms laws on race-specific homicide rates. The team has also recently published a paper in Journal of Urban Health on the determinants of interstate firearms trafficking. The second area is a set of projects that I am working on with Professor Danielle Rousseau from our Criminal Justice program and a colleague from a different university, Professor Sarah Abbott. We are looking at crucial questions related to the ways “co-response” models improve local police responses in situations involving individuals with mental illness by embedding clinicians in the agency. As our students in the field know well, this is a major challenge and an area that is undergoing a great deal of reform.
How does the subject you work in apply in practice? What is its application?
I work to focus my research on areas that are connected strongly to policy and practice. Evaluation of firearms laws directly informs the choices of justice policymakers. Working on the impact, as well as the implementation issues, of innovative police reforms, like the co-response model, helps to guide police agencies in the field. The lessons we learn about “how to do it” are as important as evaluating “what to do” for our students in the field.
What courses do you teach in the program? What “real-life” exercises do you bring to class?
The courses I teach in the program include criminology, policing, analytical methods, and research methods. Whether online or on campus, I strive to make each course an active and open learning environment. To accomplish this aim, I usually employ simulation-type assignments and exercises. Students in my policing class are set up with a real-world background and data about community problems and asked to develop true problem- or community-oriented responses. This puts them in the shoes of the kinds of multidisciplinary partnerships that are the hallmarks of effective contemporary approaches in the field.